LEWISTON, Idaho (May 29, 2010) – Less than 17 hours after surrendering a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 7-6 loss to Lee University (Tenn.), Hunter Scott's first pitch in a relief outing for Lubbock Christian University was hit for a home run by Belhaven University's (Miss.) Derek Tortorich in the eighth inning proving to be the difference in a 3-2 win over the Chaparrals Saturday morning at Harris Field. The loss ends the Chaps season at the Avista-NAIA World Series and it marks the first time in the 54-year history of the event that a defending national championship squad qualified for the World Series the following season and went 0-2.
The Chaps never led the game despite receiving solid pitching production from Frank Corolla. The Chaps senior right-hander allowed three hits over seven innings, but two of the hits were solo home runs. Craig Dean led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run and Drew Dillard duplicated Dean's blast with one in the third inning for a 2-0 Belhaven lead. Belhaven starting pitcher Chris Bennett held the Chaps without a hit for the first three innings and got out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning by striking out Reid Chenworth. The Chaps were finally able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-out double by Richard Bohlken, which scored a pair of runs and tied the game at 2-2. The Chaps would only have one hit the rest of the way.
Scott replaced Corolla in the eighth inning and his first pitch to Tortorich was sent into the left field stands for a 3-2 lead. The Chaps had two runners aboard with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and Marc Gomez at the plate. Gomez hit a hard grounder right at shortstop Shawn Diehl, who was able to knock the ball down and recover to shovel the ball, while sprawled out on his chest, to second baseman Lake Eiland for the force out to end the threat. Ole Miss transfer Wade Broyles of the Blazers was able to retire the side in the ninth for his 14th save of the season.
Bohlken went 2-for-4 in the game and was 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position, while the rest of the squad was 0-for-6. Despite losing the game, the Chaps out-hit the Blazers 6-5. Scott suffered the loss (10-5) with the solo home run serving as one of two hits allowed in two innings of relief. An unfortunate result for the Chaps senior reliever, who combined to allow just three hits in 4 2/3 innings in two games at the World Series, but two of the hits were game-winning home runs for the opposition.
LCU fell in each of their World Series contests by one-run deficits and they finish the season 5-7 in games decided by one run. The last time LCU lost two consecutive one-run games was the opening two games of the 2007 season at California Baptist. All eight runs the Chaps scored during the World Series were tallied with two outs. The Chaps complete their ninth appearance in the NAIA World Series losing their first two games for the first time since the 1982 season, which they hosted for their fourth World Series appearance. It is the third time ever the Chaps have been eliminated through two games. LCU is now 19-16 all-time in World Series action.
While Belhaven improved to 44-16 and claimed their first ever World Series win in program history, the Chaps season comes to a close with a 46-16 record. The close of the season brings an end to the college playing careers of Chap seniors Corolla, Scott, Ross Blondin, Kevin Burns, Tristan Gaines, Brett Kazmierski, Doug Kroll, J.J. Muse, Dan Neumann and Tanner Vickers. Of the ten seniors Vickers is the only one that has spent more than two years with the program. The four-year Chap closes out a Chap career with a 21-8 pitching record and he was part of a four-year stretch in which the Chaps compiled a 187-44 record (81%).