LEWISTON, ID (KCBD) – For just the second time in the history of the NAIA World Series, three teams remain and they all face elimination. Concordia University (Calif.) receives a bye and will watch from the Harris Field stands Thursday night, as No.6-seed Lubbock Christian University and No.5-seed Lee University play an elimination game at 9 p.m. (CST) for the right to play Concordia for the championship Friday night.
LCU, nationally ranked No.9, brings a 49-13 overall record and they are 3-1 in this season's World Series after suffering a 1-0 one-hit shutout loss to Lee Wednesday night. The Chaps continue to lead the NAIA with a .369 batting average and also lead in home runs per game (1.6), RBI per game (9.3), runs scored (623), RBI (574) and slugging (.627). They also rank second in hits per game (11.6) and doubles with 148. The LCU pitching staff is third in the NAIA with 473 strikeouts. Individually, Richard Bohlken leads the NAIA in total bases with 178 and his 23 home runs co-leads the NAIA. Teammate Ryan Burnaman is behind Bohlken with 175 total bases. Burnaman leads the NAIA with 101 hits on the season and 80 runs scored, and he also ranks second in triples (10) and third in doubles (27). Ryan Meade is second in the NAIA with 81 RBI and fourth with a .821 slugging percentage. Nate Peterson leads the Chaps in the NAIA World Series with seven hits.
The Chaps are making their tenth NAIA World Series appearance. It is their fourth appearance, and third consecutive trip, under the coaching tenure of head coach Nathan Blackwood. LCU is 22-17 all-time in World Series play and 12-6 under Blackwood.
Lee University is making their sixth appearance in the NAIA World Series (15-11 all-time record), and they qualified for their fifth consecutive appearance by winning the Cleveland, Tenn. Bracket of the Opening Round tournament. The No.7 nationally ranked Flames are 51-12 on the season and have played five games in World Series play this year, posting a 4-1 mark thus far. Lee is strong with arms, ranking second in the NAIA in ERA (2.76) and strikeouts (476) and third in holding opponents to a .221 batting average. Pitcher Shay Crawford leads the staff with an 11-2 record and he ranks second in the NAIA holding opponents to a .157 batting average. His 1.22 ERA ranks third in the NAIA. Chris Grayson leads the NAIA with 11 triples and leads Lee at the World Series with eight hits.
This will mark the fourth all-time meeting between the two programs and the three prior meetings have all come at the World Series. LCU defeated Lee 11-0 in 2009, but fell 7-6 on a walk-off home run last season and 1-0 Wednesday night.