Pilots take down AUM to remain unbeaten in post season
May 14, 2011MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The no. 6 LSU Shreveport Pilots took down the host team the no. 10 Auburn University at Montgomery Senators by a final score of 7-5 on Saturday afternoon at the AUM Baseball Complex in the 2011 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The Pilots advance to the Championship Game for the first time under the new post season format.
The no. 1 seeded Pilots and no. 2 seeded Senators resumed the game where it left off yesterday with it tied 2-2 as AUM got single runs in the first and second to take an early lead but the Pilots rallied for two runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game at two before the mother nature halted play for the rest of yesterday.
LSUS (44-13) got the offense in gear with one run in the fifth and four in the sixth inning as Manny Estrada led off the game with a double to left center field. He then scored on a double by Chase Wentz to give the Pilots the lead 3-2.
The four-run rally in the sixth inning was started with a lead-off double by Kyle Pearson and then a walk by Shawn Moy. Curtis Beaudoin laid down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Justin Brodnax brought in the first run of the inning with a single to center that brought home Pearson. Estrada's sac fly brought in the second run. Kevin Smith then busted the game open with a two-out two-run double off the right center field wall to extend the LSUS' lead to 7-2.
LSUS' starter Jared Mortensen (9-1) started this game yesterday and threw 51 pitches and came back today to get the Pilots to the eighth inning to pick up the win. As the game moved into the sixth inning he began to get tired and leave pitches up in the zone. He survived the seventh and recorded the first out of the eighth but then surrendered back-to-back singles. Mortensen tossed seven and 1/3 innings scattering nine hits, four earned runs, two walks and five strike outs.
The Pilots then summoned the bullpen for right-hander Cade Bowen with one out and runners on first and second. A hanging 0-2 slider was deposited over the left center field fence to bring the Senators within two but that is as close as Bowen allowed them to get. The homer was only the third one allowed this year by the Pilot's closer and the first run that he has allowed since March 9th.
LSUS failed to score any runs in the bottom of the eighth leaving Bowen with only a two-run cushion with three outs between them and their first trip to the Championship Game in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.
AUM went to the bench for a pinch-hitter Derek Webster to lead-off the ninth inning. Bowen retired him on four pitches for his second strike out of the game. Then Bowen fanned Jordan Johnson for the second out and then struck out pinch-hitter Charlie Lester to end the game. Bowen faced a total of seven batters and struck out four to close out the game in one and 2/3 innings of work.
AUM's starter Kyle Mitchell also came back to start the game today after throwing 58 pitches in the first three innings yesterday but he was not as effective as Bowen. The Pilots knocked him out of the game in the sixth inning. Mitchell (8-3) suffered the loss allowed seven earned runs on seven hits and walked four with five strike outs. The Senators' reliever Forrest Holifield shut down the Pilots allowing only one hit in three innings pitched.
The Pilots are now the only unbeaten team left in the Montgomery bracket as they await their opponent for tomorrow's 1:00 Championship Game. LSUS is now just one win away from making their second trip to the Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. The Pilots will face the winner of the final game of the day which will either be Huntington, William Woods or AUM.