LSUS wins twice to force final game in Shreveport Bracket of NAIA

LSUS third baseman AJ Fritz had a sacrifice fly in Wednesday’s first game to walk it off for the Pilots. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports) 


LSUS scored a walk-off win and defeated the team it lost to in its opening game in the Shreveport Bracket of the NAIA National Tournament Wednesday and will play a final game to see who goes to the NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.  

In Wednesday’s first elimination game against Morningside University the Pilots scored the game-winning run on a one-out sacrifice fly in the ninth to post a 7-6 win. They then forced the winner-take-all game today by defeating MidAmerica Nazarene University 14-6. MNU, the four seed in the bracket, defeated the No.1 seeded Pilots on Monday. 

LSUS and MidAmerica Nazarene will play today at 11 a.m. to see who gets to move on to the World Series. 

The Pilots got on top of the Pioneers early by scoring five runs in each of the first two innings and led 13-0 going to the sixth. MNU scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth to make a run at LSUS. Trey Rugg came on to relieve starting and winning pitcher Draven Zeigler and shut down NMU on one hit in the final 3 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four. 

AJ Fritz was 4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs, Ryan Major was 4-for-4, and Vantrel Reed was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs. Josh Gibson had a single and double in four at bats and Carlos Pineyro was 2-for-3. Kade Shannon and Christian Webb both drove in a pair of runs. 

In Wednesday’s first game, Major led off the ninth with a single. A hit batsmen and fielder’s choice moved him to third to set up Fritz’s fly ball to right field that scored the winning run and eliminated Morningside from the tournament. 

LSUS had a 4-1 lead through the first three innings when Morningside (Sioux City, Iowa) woke up and scored a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to claim a 5-4 lead.   

The Pilots reclaimed the lead 6-5 when Ryan Davenport singled in a run and Trevor Burkhart lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score two runs in the sixth.  

The Mustangs tied the game with a single run in the ninth before the Pilots won it on the Fritz sacrifice fly.  

Burkhart (double) and Miguel Vega (triple) had extra-base hits for LSUS while Major and Reed both had two hits.