LSUS Pilots finish in third place in NAIA World Series!
May 28, 2003
Nationally ranked No. 1, the Oklahoma City University Stars proved to be too much for the LSUS Pilots in the final elimination game of the 2003 NAIA World Series Wednesday night. The Pilots lost 12-2, and bowed out of the tournament in third place behind the Stars and Lewis-Clark State College, the host of the tournament in Lewiston, Idaho.
The visiting team Wednesday night, the Stars jumped on freshman pitcher Daniel Welch for three hits in the top of the first inning, including a three-run homer. Trailing 3-0 with no outs, Pilots Coach Rocke Musgraves went to the bullpen, calling on senior left-hander Dustin Walden, who ended the inning with no further damage. Musgraves would call on a total of six pitchers on the night.
Pilots catcher Aaron McRae opened the LSUS second with a home run, but the Pilots were unable to take advantage of two more hits. Oklahoma City scored one in the top of the third, another in the fourth and three in the fifth, increasing their cushion to 8-1. The Pilots added one run in the fifth to close to the margin to six.
After quiet sixth and seventh innings, however, the Stars scored a run in the top of the eighth, and ripped a three-run homer in the ninth to make it a 12-2 game. The Pilots went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
The Stars recorded 18 hits on the night, while the Pilots got to Oklahoma City pitching for 11 hits.
The Pilots (52-24), who made the school's first-ever NAIA World Series appearance, were beaten twice by the Stars, but recorded three impressive wins in their other games. In their opener against Indiana Tech (Ft. Wayne) Friday, the Pilots recorded the only 10-run "mercy rule" win of the tournament, downing the Warriors 11-1. The Pilots lost to the Stars 13-5 Saturday in their second game, then came back Monday to defeat Spalding University, of Louisville, Ky., 8-4. Tuesday, the Pilots trounced No. 2 seeded Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, of Daytona Beach, Fla., 14-4.
The Lewis-Clark Warriors will have to take two straight games from the Stars Thursday and Friday nights to repeat as national champions. The Stars have been No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings since the first poll of the season.
The Warriors faced exactly the same scenario in the 2002 World Series. Having been handed their single loss of the tournament by again top-ranked Oklahoma City, Lewis-Clark defeated the Stars twice to win the championship.