CLAREMORE, Okla. (May 9, 2013) – Defensive miscues and a 6-0 deficit was too much for a 4-for-4 performance from Brandon Wilson and No.4 Lubbock Christian University to overcome, as fourth-seeded Rogers State University upset the top-seeded Chaparrals 7-5 in the Claremore Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round Saturday night at Diamond Sports Complex.
Rogers State benefited from a three-run second and three-run fourth innings, taking advantage of Chaps mistakes. In the second inning, Keith Poverud took advantage of Chaps left fielder Brett Kauten playing in by sending a fly ball over his head and to the wall for a two-run double and a 3-0 lead. In the fourth inning, consecutive Hillcats batters hit into a fielder's choice, with ground balls to second baseman Brennyn Smith, who attempted to get the lead runner heading home out, but each time the runner was safe at home and no outs were recorded.
The Chaps were unable to get their first run of the game until the fifth inning. Christian Vazquez (double) and Smith (single) reached base in the fifth inning and Wilson scored Vazquez with a RBI-single. LCU cut the deficit to a pair of runs (6-4) with a three-run eighth inning. Jason Fisch drove in a pair with a single and Brent Leslie grounded out to help score a run. In the top of the ninth inning, the Hillcats got another break when LCU shortstop Christian Vazquez took a ground ball and threw it away trying to throw the ball to third base for fielder's choice put-out. The run scored for a 7-4 lead. Vazquez led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a triple and scored on Wilson's single through the right side. With the score 7-5, LCU had the tying run at the plate with Joel Lutz, but an untimely 6-4-3 double play ended the game. It was only the second time this season Lutz had hit into a double play.
Brandon Bargas registered the complete game win for RSU (8-5). The first four RSU put-outs were by strikeouts from Bargas and he finished with eight. Once reason LCU was able to rally back from the 6-0 deficit was the play of reliever Sam Fry. Chaps starting pitcher Jack Mabe allowed six runs off nine hits in four innings and was replaced by Fry, who only allowed one run (unearned) and one hit over five innings. Fry struck out seven batters. Wilson finished the game 4-for-4 with two runs-batted-in to lead LCU. Poverud tallied three RBI to lead the Hillcats offense.
LCU falls to 42-16 overall on the season with the loss and falls into the losers bracket of the tournament. The Chaps will play Friday at 6 p.m. against the winning team of the matchup between Bellevue and Midland University in an elimination contest. RSU (33-22) remains in the winners bracket and will face Lyon College.