Bellevue rapped out 23 hits in an 18-4 win over Madonna (Mich) in the winner’s bracket game at the opening round of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa leaving the Bruins one win away from a trip to Lewiston, Idaho.
The Bruins scored two runs in the top of the first and never trailed against the Crusaders. Bellevue scored two more in the second, one in the third and three in the sixth to open up an 8-2 lead. The Bruins blew the game open with six in the seventh and added two in each of the eighth and ninth innings. The Bellevue offense put runs across in all but two of the innings.
Senior righthander Justin Long (8-4) pitched seven strong innings to earn the win for the Bruins. Long gave up three runs on six hits and struck out four. Brandon Peters and Aaron Converse combined to pitch the final two innings in relief.
Matty Johnson went 5-for-7 with two RBIs and four runs scored. Anthony Bazant went 5-for-6 with a pair of runs scored and one RBI for the Bruins.
Bellevue plays Thursday and 3:30 and will face either Madonna or Fresno Pacific who eliminated Nebraska Wesleyan with a 9-7 final.