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Baseball - Wed, May 17, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
Already in their second season the Royals will head to Lewiston for the NAIA World Series
Already in their second season the Royals will head to Lewiston for the NAIA World Series
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(10)Middle Georgia State College
(RV)Hope International

LIMA, OH – (RV) Hope International continued its incredible second season with a win on Wednesday, May 17 in the Lima Bracket hosted by No. 7 University of Northwestern Ohio. The Royals faced No. 10 Middle Georgia State for the second time in three days and won the matchup again despite allowing five separate two-run home runs to the Knights.

Shawn Dumser Jr. took the mound in his third collegiate start and went five and a third for his team with four runs allowed – three of them earned – on four hits. Josh Steele allowed three runs on a pair of two-run blasts before Jeff Schwartz allowed a two-run blast of his own in an inning of work. Justin Moulds finished the game with two innings of work and picked up the win for his trouble after surrendering the final two-run shot to the Knights – Moulds became the winningest pitcher in HIU history once again with his 11th career win and is now 7-0 on the year.

The Royals got off to a slow start with the first three runs of the game going the way of the Knights – MGA plated one in the third and two more in the fourth before HIU cracked onto the board in the fourth.

Brandon Gonzalez got things started with a triple in the fourth and scored after Jeff Murray followed him with a double. Will Davis immediately followed Murray with a single through the left side and stole second before Nolan Kraemer doubled to score Davis, tying the game at 3-3.

After holding MGA scoreless in the fifth the Royals plated a pair of runs the bottom half of the frame to take the lead. Jose Tejeda and Cameron Baranek paired back-to-back singles before an error allowed Brett Thompson to reach safely to load the bases. A fielder's choice plated Tejeda, and on the next play Baranek stole home to give HIU a 5-3 lead.

The Knights plated the next six runs unanswered on three two-run blasts over the fence in left field – all the Knights' homer cut through the wind and out over the left field fence, in fact – before HIU was able to mount a comeback.

Baranek and Thompson led off with walks in the seventh and Gonzalez followed with a single to load the bases before Murray singled to plate Baranek. Davis scored two with a single into left center and the MGA centerfielder muffed the ball, allowing Davis to take second. A sacrifice fly by Sean David Clark scored Murray to tie the game at 9-9 and the Royals blanked the Knights in the eighth.

Baranek led off the bottom of the eighth with a bloop double on the left field line before Thompson singled with a line drive into left field to put runners on the corners – Murray doubled into right field to plate both runners and gave HIU the lead for the final time. Thompson's run scored from first base proved to be the winning run – Moulds' only hit allowed in the game was a two-run shot in the ninth, but the Knights fouled out to Tejeda at third in the next at-bat to end the game and push the Royals onward into the NAIA World Series.

When asked for his reaction to the World Series berth, Coach Erich Pfohl replied "It's the most special thing that's ever happened [to us so far], it's not something I ever expected – certainly we expected to be competitive and we were excited about that, but to be able to give these guys the ability to go compete [at the World Series] after all they've given me and our coaches, I'm truly speechless and just so happy for them."

The Royals came from behind in all three of their games at the Lima Bracket hosted by UNOH and completed a perfect 3-0 stay with a pair of wins against Middle Georgia and a win over their host UNOH. HIU improves to 35-16 overall in their second season and boasts a 9-4 record against teams in the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 poll this season, including a 6-1 record against teams ranked in the Top 10 at the time of play. HIU may not sport the most impressive stats in a field of 10 World Series opponents, but they have consistently found ways to win this season with contributions from all over the roster in timely moments.

The Royals will travel to Lewiston, ID for the 61st World Series hosted by Lewis-Clark State (ID) that runs from May 26-June 2 in approximately one week from today's win. Links to live coverage, as well as a tournament preview article, will be available on our website in the coming weeks.

 
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