Fresno Pacific scored seven runs in the first three innings en route to a 10-1 win over Bellevue in the championship game of the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament Friday afternoon at Lewis and Clark Park. Bellevue, which was plagued by five fielding errors, ended their season with a 41-12 record.
After suffering a loss in the tournament’s first game, the Sunbirds won five straight to improve to 38-19 and will now advance to the Avista-NAIA World Series on May 22-30 in Lewiston, Idaho.
Drew Farley finished 2-for-4 with the Bruins’ only extra base hit, a double to deep center field which provided Bellevue’s lone RBI.
Fresno Pacific was led by center fielder Tyler Pryor, who finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs. The Sunbirds struck quickly as Jared Coleman led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple down the right field line and scored off of Tyler Pryor’s single to center field to give FPU an early 1-0 advantage. A two-base error with two outs by Bruin short stop Louie Templeton led to four unearned runs for FPU in the bottom of the second. Following the error, consecutive doubles by Pryor and Case Rigby and a single by Justin Keeney allowed the Sunbirds to expand their lead to 5-0 after two complete innings.
The Sunbirds added two more unearned runs in the third. A ground out RBI by Alec Mehrten scored Anthony Lowell, who reached on a single and advanced to third after another error by Templeton. The score reached 7-0 after a throwing error by Templeton during a run-down pickoff attempt allowed Norwood to score from third.
An RBI single to left field in the bottom of the fifth by Pryor scored pinch runner Matt Souza who was placed on second after Coleman led off with a double down the left field line. The Bruins avoided the shutout in the top of the seventh after a double to deep center field by Drew Farley scored Justin White who recorded his second single of the game. Similar to the fifth inning, a Coleman double and an RBI single by Pryor added another Sunbird run in the seventh frame. A walk and a single by Dwight Nixon pushed the the final score to 10-1.
story courtesy of Bellevue athletics