Hattiesburg, MS – LSUA rode tough pitching into extra innings in the opening game of the NAIA National Championship Tournament Opening Round, but it would be a bases loaded walk that drove in the winning run for Lyon as the 4th-seeded Scots defeated the 5th-seeded Generals 2-1 in ten innings Monday morning at Milton Wheeler Field.
Lyon took the lead in the bottom of the first inning as Keegan Floyd hit a sacrifice fly that scored Andrew Sauceda to give the Scots a 1-0 lead. From there, it was a pitcher's duel between Lyon starter Taylor Tognarine and LSUA starter Blake Garrett. LSUA was able to load the bases with two outs in the second, but couldn't force in any runs.
While LSUA would get base runners in several innings, it took to the sixth to pierce the scoreboard. Zach Hebert led off the sixth with a triple. Brady Fryou would knock him in two batters later as he laid down a perfect bunt for a base hit that also allow Hebert to score and tie the game at 1-1.
The General got in trouble in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Scots loaded the bases with one out. However, a pop up didn't get deep enough to score anyone for the second out, and then relief pitcher Brett Brooks struck the next batter out, with Thane Lanclos stepping on the plate after the ball hit the dirt for the third out and keep the game even at 1-1. LSUA started the ninth with a single, but the pinch runner was picked off and another runner was left stranded at first base.
After the Scots went up and down in order in the ninth, LSUA seemed on the verge of taking the lead in the top of the tenth. Logan Constantine led off the inning with a single, and then stole second to put himself in scoring position. Trace Oliva laid down a good sacrifice bunt to move Constantine to third with just one out. But another bunt attempt was popped up and a strike out retired the side without the Generals getting the run across.
Lyon got the game winning rally started with one out in the bottom of the inning as Jordan Braswell singled to reach. After another strike out got LSUA to within an out of getting to the 11th inning, Kylan Barnett hit an infield single to move Braswell to third. The Generals intentionally walked Easton Moore to load the bases to bring up the nine-hole, which was pinch hitter Tucker Harris. Brett Brooks fought back from a 3-0 deficit to fill up the count, but the pay-off pitch was inside and Braswell was forced in for the walk-off walk.
Brett Brooks (4-3) took the loss. He threw 3.2 innings of relief and gave up five hits and the one run, which was earned. He struck out six and walked three. Starter Blake Garrett tied his season high with nine strikeouts as he worked six innings with six hits and one earned run with no walks. Garrett and Brooks combined to strike out 15 Scot batters, the second most Ks Generals pitching has recorded this season.
With the loss, the Generals (33-23) fall into an elimination game tomorrow against the loser of the today's second game between 2-seed Texas Wesleyan and 3-seed William Carey. First pitch of tomorrow's elimination game is set for 9:00 A.M. at Milton Wheeler Field.