MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The stakes could not have been higher for HU Baseball as they entered Day 3 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Tournament in Montgomery. Having lost against Faulkner University on Tuesday, the Foresters faced a must-win situation on Wednesday against fifth-seed Truett McConnell University (Ga.)
After three quiet innings to start the game, HU’s offense exploded for a four-run fourth inning, anchored by one of Huntington’s three multi-run home runs in the game; this one a two-run blast to left off the bat of Dylan Henricks. Henricks went 3-for-5 with four RBI and one run scored.
Additional firepower in the fourth inning was provided by a single to shallow left from Michael Crowley. TJ Lindstrand came in to run for Crowley and would eventually come around to score by way of a stolen base and a sacrifice fly from teammate Tyler Zimske. Following Zimske’s sac fly, Jamar Weaver singled to shallow right-center to bring Roser around to score from second. Crowley was 3-for-5 at the plate and Zimske had four RBI on the afternoon. Weaver also register one RBI.
A Dalton Combs single to left followed by a Shea Beauchamp home run to deep left-center field in the seventh gave HU a 6 – 1 cushion. Beauchamp was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
However, having earned the title of the comeback kids throughout the Montgomery Bracket, Truett McConnell was not about to roll over and give the game to HU. The Bears scored one run in the top of the fifth before putting up an additional four runs in the top of the eighth to make it a one-run game.
The bottom of the eighth was Huntington’s turn to light the scoreboard up and solidify a lead TMU would not challenge. Drew McLochlin, pinch hitting for Andy Roser, started the inning with a walk. Designated hitter Will Coursen-Carr advanced McLochlin to third with his single through the right side. With two on, Tyler Zimske launched a ball over the left field fence for HU’s third multi-run homer of the game.
Later in the inning, Combs reached on his second single of the game, Beauchamp drew a walk, and Henricks brought both of those runs in to score with his double to left-center. By the end of the eighth, the Foresters had established an 11 -5 lead. TMU would bring one more across in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough. Combs went 2-for-4 on the day.
Tanner Wyse got the start and the win for HU. This was his sixth win of the season. Wyse pitched 6 2/3 innings, scattering nine hits and only allowing one earned run. Tarrin Beachy came on in the seventh, allowing four runs on two hits before Coach Frame’s closer, Caleb Landrum, took the hill and recorded his eighth save of the season.
With the win, HU earns the right to play Faulkner University in the Montgomery bracket finals. The Foresters will have to defeat the Eagles twice in order to advance to the Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, ID. HU’s record stands at 35 – 12.
The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-American honors and 254 All-American Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.