Ticket Punched! CMU clinches first NAIA World Series berth with 7-2 win over William Carey
O'Fallon, Mo. - The No. 1 seeded Central Methodist baseball program made history on Thursday afternoon, defeating No. 2 seeded William Carey (Miss.), 7-2 in the NAIA Opening Round Championship at CarShield Field in O'Fallon, Mo.
With the win, Central punches its ticket to the 64th annual Avista NAIA World Series May 28 - June 4 in Lewiston, Idaho, the first-ever world series appearance for the Eagles. It also marks the first time in 22 years that a team from the Heart of America Athletic Conference has made the trip to Lewiston, with the last team being Culver-Stockton College in 1999.
The Crusaders jumped out in front first with a run in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. CMU would respond in the bottom of the third courtesy of a two-run home run from senior first basemen Logan Haring. The third inning home run was the Dekalb, Ill. native's 19th of the season, a new single-season program record.
Central pushed its lead to four with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Deshawn Cole doubled to left and then stole third, bringing Grant Victor to the plate. Victor and Haring drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Heart Player of the Year Sergio Macias then hit a bases-clearing double to deep center, giving CMU a 5-1 lead.
The Eagles capitalized on two Crusader errors in the fifth, tacking on two more runs. Despite William Carey adding a run in the sixth, the Eagles pitching staff retired nine of the final 10 batters, clinching a 7-2 win.
Cole and Haring both collected two hits, including two doubles from Cole and a home run from Haring. Macias finished the afternoon with three RBI while drawing two walks.
Overall, the CMU bats scored seven runs on eight hits, including four for extra bases, and six walks.
Kenny Otero made his 11th start on the bump Thursday, pitching five complete innings and giving up just one earned run on five hits along with two strikeouts in the victory. Tyler Vicars and Beau Atkins each tossed two innings, not allowing a hit through the final four innings of work.
Central looks to World Series play next week in Lewiston, Idaho where they have earned the No. 2 overall seed in the 10 team double-elimination tournament. The Eagles have earned a first-round bye and will face the winner of No. 7 IU Southeast (Ind.)/No. 10 Concordia (Neb.) Saturday, May 29 at 8:30 (CST)