LEWISTON, Idaho, Sporting Alert – Top seed Faulkner (Ala.) and defending champion Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) will meet in the 60th annual Avista-NAIA World Series championship game on Friday, with live streaming on ESPN3.
The Eagles (53-14) booked their place in the championship game after picking up a 14-5 victory over No. 3 seed Bellevue (Neb.) (54-12) on Thursday at Harris Field.
Friday night’s final will be available on ESPN3 with the first pitch scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET (6:35 p.m. local time).
Faulkner, which never trailed in Thursday evening contest, jumped out to a 5-0 lead inside the opening two inning, including scoring four runs in the first inning.
Bellevue battled back to trim the deficit to 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Eagles went on to score 8 runs in the next four innings to secure the win.
The No. 1 seed finished with 17 hits, with leadoff hitter Dario Polanco leading the way with 4-of-6 with four runs scored, while T.J Condon went 2-of-4 with five RBI and two runs scored and David Palenzuela was 2-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored.
“We are just blessed to have this opportunity,” Faulkner coach Patrick McCarthy said on the NAIA website. “We knew every pitcher they went through was fatigued.”
“T.J. is such a hard worker that he now has to wear batting gloves because his hands are bleeding so much,” McCarthy said.
“Baseball is a game of inches and his grand slam hit the top of the fence.”
Faulkner, which is in the championship game for the second time in four years, lifted the Avista-NAIA World Series title in 2013. They finished in third place last season.
“We knew if we could be patient and get into the bullpen we’d be ok, because this is when fatigue sets in,” said McCarthy.
“We’re hitting the ball really well, and it will take every bit of that for us to beat Lewis-Clark State.
“They’re playing great baseball and they’re playing at home, but it’s a nine-inning game and we’re obviously where we want to be. We’ve combined for the two of the past three championships. The atmosphere should be electric in here Friday night. It should be fun.”
Meanwhile, host university Lewis-Clark State will be contesting its 20th national championship game.
The Warriors, who defeated St.Thomas University 10-7 to land the World Series title last term, have won an NAIA record 17 titles.
NOTE: The World Series coverage takes place at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho. The hosts are Lewis-Clark State College. Click HERE to view the entire World Series schedule.