LEWISTON, Idaho (May 22, 2009) - With Lee University's (Tenn.) 5-2 win over Campbellsville University (Ky.), to open the 2009 Avista NAIA World Series Friday morning, the stage is set for Lubbock Christian University's first game. The No.1 Chaparrals, who received an opening round by, will face No.10 Lee University Saturday at Harris Field with the first pitch scheduled for 5 pm CST.
Lee University is seeking to complete what they were unable to finish last season. The Flames (the No.1 seed last year) won their first four games last year before losing twice to Lewis Clark State to finish as the World Series Runner-up last season. They are the only non-top seeded team from an Opening Round tournament to advance to this season's World Series (Tennessee Wesleyan was the top seed in Field 5 Tournament). Lee defeated Belhaven 22-4 in the Opening Round Field 5 Tournament to clinch their third consecutive trip to Lewiston and their fourth ever venture to the NAIA World Series.
Chris Warters, who hit three homers in last season's World Series, hit his 17th home run of the season Friday and it was one of three home runs hit by Lee in their 5-2 win over Campbellsville. Mathew Gilson (11-3) picked up the win for the Flames, allowing two runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Lee is now 51-12 with the win. The Cleveland, Tennessee based program has won four straight games and six of their last seven played.
Lee has only one player (infielder Max Harvell) that is not a junior or a senior on their 24-man postseason roster. They rank fifth in the NAIA in ERA (3.55) and seventh in earned runs allowed per nine innings (1.1). The Flames also rank eighth in runs allowed per game (3.8) and hits allowed per game (7.1). Warters leads the offense with a .443 batting average (20th in the NAIA) and 79 runs-batted-in. Julian Alvarez leads the Flames with 18 home runs. He led the NAIA in homers last with 26 as a member of Bacone College.
LCU, the top-seeded team in the tournament, joined Oklahoma City University with a first round bye. The Chaps (47-7), who join Lewis Clark State as the only active NAIA programs to appear in NAIA World Series in four consecutive decades, punched their ticket to Lewiston with a 15-6 win over Wayland Baptist in the Opening Round Field 1 Tournament presented by City Bank. It is their eighth trip to the NAIA World Series and their first since 2006. LCU ranks in the top-four in 11 different NAIA categories, including leading the NAIA in doubles per game (2.9) and triples per game (0.5). They also rank second in hits per game (12.5), homers per game (2.2), runs per game (11), batting (.388) and slugging (.715). Will Stramp, sitting on 99 hits on the season, leads the Chaps offense and a majority of NAIA offensive categories. He leads the NAIA with a .508 batting average, and also leads the NAIA in hits per game (1.9), runs scored per game (1.6), total bases per game (3.9) and slugging (1.036). Stramp leads the team with 24 homers and teammate Ross Blondin sits right behind him with 23 home runs. Blondin enters the World Series with on a 15-game hit streak (the longest this season is 23 by Stramp). He also led the Chaps in the Opening Round Field 1 Tournament by hitting .545 (12-for-22) with eight RBI.
It is unknown who will pitch for either squad, but LCU could possibly face Dave Mason or Joel Mathews. Mason is 10-3 with a 4.16 ERA. The 6'3" senior from Decatur, Tenn. is a Second Team All-Southern States Athletic Conference member. Mathews, a 6'4" senior from La Mesa, California, has traditionally followed Gilson in the rotation this season. He is 7-1 with a 4.06 ERA this season and has a 20-3 career record at the collegiate level (18-3 at Lee). The meeting will mark the first ever meeting between the two programs.