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Baseball - Wed, May 10, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
Will Davis was a bright spot for HIU in the final game of the 2017 GSAC Tournament
Will Davis was a bright spot for HIU in the final game of the 2017 GSAC Tournament
(RV)Hope International
The Master's University

REDWOOD CITY, CA – (RV) Hope International fell for the second time in as many days to the Mustangs from The Master's University in the 2017 GSAC Tournament Championship. The Royals gave up an early lead and struggled against the Mustangs' pitching before falling in their second shot at the title by six runs.

Brandon Conlin got the start for HIU and went two and third with a pair of stellar innings to start before losing his command in the third. Jonathan Marriott took over for an inning and a third before getting the hook for Shawn Dumser Jr. Dumser lasted three innings before Dylan Hoffman finished the seventh for the Royals, and after a brief appearance from Lee Mutter, Jacob Rucker entered to finish his second straight game against TMU.

TMU elected to use both of their starters on short rest as the game starter and long reliever to shut the door on the Royals, and that decision would prove to be the difference – the Royals produced just four hits in 30 at-bats for a sum of one run. After HIU got on the board first with a run in the top of the second the Mustangs' staff silenced the Royals' bats until the ninth inning.

After stringing together three singles from Will Davis, Sean David Clark, and Nolan Kraemer to plate Davis the Royals would not register a hit again until the top of the ninth. HIU scattered baserunners through the middle innings as Clark drew a walk and Jeff Murray wore a pitch, but by and large the Royals went down in order in each inning.

The Mustangs plated four runs in the bottom of the third and another three in the bottom of the fourth to take a 7-1 lead midway through the game and would never let off the pressure after that point. The Royals' relief staff pitched well after Marriott to hold the gap at six runs, but the offense that had carried HIU through the year and into the postseason vanished at the worst possible time.

Davis was the bright spot offensively for the Royals as the freshman utility player went 2-for-4 with a single and a double, scoring the Royals' only run of the day in the second inning for a brief lead. Dumser and Rucker also provide solace for HIU fans on the Royals' pitching staff as they ate up precious innings from an explosive Mustangs offense. Together, the three freshman give Royals baseball fans something to be excited about for years to come if today's performances on a big stage are any indication.

"I'm proud of the way our guys came out and competed in the tournament," Coach Erich Pfohl said after the game. "Unfortunately we didn't execute quality baseball games to finish it out, but Master's was sharp and our hats are off to them. It was a great experience for our guys and our program to attend a wonderful event hosted by Menlo."

The Royals end their first GSAC postseason appearance on a brief skid at 2-2 with a pair of wins to get into the Tournament championship games and the losses that allowed TMU to snare their second-straight title. TMU scored 63 runs in the tournament (10.5/game) and won five straight games to take the title home to Santa Clarita.

In both 2016 and 2017, TMU came all the way through the loser's bracket to claim the title and continues the trend that Westmont began in the 2014 tournament and that former GSAC member Concordia Irvine continued in 2015 -  this is the fourth-straight season where a team from the loser's bracket has won the Tournament and secured the automatic berth to the NAIA Opening Round.

HIU will await the decision of the NAIA Selection Committee to see if they will continue playing in 2017. The Royals currently boast a 32-16 overall record and finished as the Regular Season champion with the best record in the GSAC at 20-10. A live selection show will be broadcast tomorrow by the NAIA that will reveal whether HIU will move on or hang it up for a final time in 2017 – that show can be seen here at 1:00 pm PDT.

Overall GSAC Streak
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