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TMC baseball falls just short in game 2 of NAIA World Series

Mustangs fall behind by seven runs and nearly come back to tie it

Posted: May 27, 2013 9:13 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2013 9:13 p.m.

The Master's College pitcher Tyler Elrod delivers to Faulker (Ala.) during Monday's NAIA World Series game in Lewiston, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Referee Photo.

It all started to fall into place for The Master’s College baseball.

But time ran out, and the TMC Mustangs were left with a hard-to-swallow 7-6 loss to the Faulkner Eagles of Alabama in the second round of the NAIA World Series on Monday at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho.

The loss puts the Mustangs (44-16) in an elimination game today at noon against tournament-host Lewis-Clark State.

Faulkner, which is the No. 1 seed of the bracket, slowly built to a 7-0 lead headed into the bottom of the eighth before TMC’s bats finally got going.

Despite rallying for three runs off three hits in both the eighth and ninth innings though, the Mustangs came up a run short of knocking off the Eagles (53-11).

“We didn’t capitalize off opportunities,” said TMC head coach Monte Brooks. “We chased balls out of the zone. We missed a couple of signs and beat ourselves early in the game.”

Pitching for the first time in three weeks due to a calf injury, TMC start Tyler Elrod had to grind his way through a pesky, aggressive, athletic Faulkner lineup on a drizzly day.

Though Elrod was making the pitches he needed to, Brooks said, uncharacteristic defensive blunders and mental mistakes helped the Eagles extend innings and keep rallied alive.

Faulker scored a run in the first, two in the fifth, three in the seventh and one more in the eighth.

Six of them were scored off Elrod, who went seven innings and allowed 13 hits and a walk while striking out eight.

“I thought my stuff was good,” Elrod said. “The scouting report said they hit a lot of fastballs so I stuck with fastball and cutter and they started to adjust.”

Elrod’s only major mistake pitch came in the seventh inning, when he said he left a cutter up in the strike zone for David Bishop to knock out of the park for a three-run home run.

But as dire as it seemed, the Mustangs showed resiliency.

After struggling all day against Faulker starter Will Dismukes and failing to get runners in, TMC finally got to him when Jonathan Popadics led off with a double and Steven Karkenny immediately followed with a single to bring Popadics home.

Later in the inning, Chris Talley brought home Karkenny on a double and Ryan Shackelford crossed home plate on a wild pitch to cut Faulker’s lead to 7-3.

At this point, TMC had chased off Dismukes, who went 7 1/3 and gave up three runs, two earned, off six hits.

“We didn’t give up. I love those kids,” Brooks said of his team. “Great resolve. Great competitors. They still tried to go pitch to pitch, not worry about the past. Don’t fret about the future.”

The last of the Mustangs’ rally came in the ninth when a Joe Riddle RBI double and a pair of RBI singles by Talley and Sam Robison put TMC within a run of completing the comeback.

With the tying run aboard first base, Cody Harris grounded out to first to end the threat and strand the team’s 11th baserunner of the game.

The Mustangs are now a loss away from ending their season. Today, they’ll take on a hometown Lewis-Clark State team which has been drawing crowds in the thousands so far in this tournament.

“We’re a little upset but once we get here tomorrow we’ll be ready to go,” Elrod said. “We’ve been wanting to play LC State. It’ll be a fun environment. We’ll be ready to go.”


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