LEWISTON, Idaho – The Warriors are not done yet. After trailing 3-0 after the first inning, No. 5 LC State tallied six unanswered runs to punch its ticket to the Avista NAIA World Series at Harris Field. In the ninth meeting of the season between the two teams, LC knocked off fourth-seeded UBC in the winner-take-all contest of the 2022 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round, presented by Avista, on Thursday afternoon.
Sam Linscott was the hero at the plate with four RBI, including a go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning. The Warriors used a barrage of arms to combat the potent Thunderbirds bats. The LC defense shined with diving catches and a pair of double plays, including one turned by local products Riley Way, A.J. Davis and Luke White to end the game.
“Super proud of the entire team’s effort throughout the week that culminated with the win today,” Head Coach Jake Taylor said. “The past couple games with UBC, though a bit tense, will help us leading into next week. It’s a great day to be a Warrior.”
UBC carried its momentum over from the night before and scored three runs out of the gate. Starter Drake Borschowa settled in after the first frame and retired the first two batters in a scoreless second. Way sparked an LC rally in the third with a double to right to put two on after Davis walked.
Linscott stepped to the plate next and drilled a base hit up the middle to plate both and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the third. Base knocks by Nick Seamons and Pu’ukani De Sa in the fourth evened things up 3-3, and the Warriors took their first lead of the day in the fifth. Aidan Nagle singled to left center to get the momentum going before a big blast by Linscott made it 5-3 in favor of LC State.
The Warrior defense came in clutch behind Eli Shubert in the bottom of the frame to work around a leadoff single. After a diving play at first by White, Way connected with Davis to turn a line drive into a double play to end the inning. Dawson Day took over on the mound in the seventh and retired his first two batters. A walk, base hit and hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the UBC cleanup hitter, but a clutch strikeout from Day squashed any momentum for the Thunderbirds.
Zach Threlfall added a run in the eighth with a solo shot into the corner in left, and a 1-2-3 eight by Day kept the score at 6-3. Trent Sellers came out of the bullpen in the ninth and got the first batter on a groundout to White at first. The ninth batter in the lineup singled, but a well-turned double play by LC’s career-leading double play duo, Way and Davis, ended the game and punched LC’s ticket.
Linscott led LC at the plate with two hits and four RBI, and Way also tallied a pair of hits. The Warriors used four pitchers in Borschowa, Shubert, Day, and Sellers, with Day earning the win and Sellers taking the save.
The Warriors will compete for a national title at the 2022 Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston May 27-June 3. Tickets are on sale now at naiaworldseries.com.
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