LEWISTON, Idaho – The second-seeded Lewis-Clark State College baseball team couldn't solve Cumberland (Tenn.) starter Anthony Gomez, who tossed a complete-game six-hitter against the Warriors (43-8) in LCSC's first game at the 2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series on Saturday night at Harris Field.
Gomez (6-4) kept the LCSC hitters off balance all night, allowing just one unearned run in the ninth inning. All eight of his strikeouts came in the fifth inning or later, but he also walked six batters in a 147-pitch outing.
"First of all, you have to tip your hat to the guy they had on the bump. Gomez pitched a heck of a game and kept our guys off-balance," LCSC coach Jeremiah Robbins said. "We went away from our approach at the plate and it got us. In this setting, you have to have an approach against quality pitching."
The Warriors will take on No. 8 Southern Poly in an elimination game on Monday at noon, while Cumberland matches up with No. 3 Oklahoma Wesleyan in a championship bracket contest at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
Senior right-hander Michael Noteware (6-2) was the tough-luck loser for Lewis-Clark State on Saturday, allowing five runs (two earned) in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one, and hung a breaking ball to Bulldogs second baseman Sam Lind in the sixth inning.
Lind jumped on it, sending it over the right-center field fence for a three-run home run, his 15th of the season. That started a five-run rally for Cumberland in the frame, as the Bulldogs tacked on two more unearned runs on a two-run single to center by shortstop Tyler Anderson.
"I thought Noteware pitched pretty well," Robbins said. "He left one breaking ball up and the guy was ready for it."
LCSC had few opportunities against Gomez, but did send Cody Lavalli to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth after a Brian Corliss double sandwiched around walks to Tariq Staton and Ryan Sells.
Lavalli flew out to center field to end the inning, which was stunted by a failure to get a sacrifice bunt down early in the frame.
"We didn't sac bunt tonight, and that killed us big time," Robbins said.
Cumberland tacked on another run in the eighth on a solo home run by Blake North that came against reliever Gunnar Swanson, who worked the eighth inning.
David Murillo worked the ninth for the Warriors.
Robbins' plan for Monday's game with Southern Poly was simple.
"We have to be better in every aspect of the game," he said. "We've got to come out with a focus and a passion and be ready for the opportunity that we have."