Third-seeded Missouri Baptist staved off elimination at the NAIA Baseball National Championship - Kingsport Bracket on Saturday afternoon with a 6-3 victory over top-seed Tennessee Wesleyan at Hunter Wright Stadium.
With the win, the Spartans (34-12) force a winner take all Kingsport Bracket Championship Game on Monday afternoon at noon with the Bulldogs (45-17). The winner of that contest will advance to the 2013 Avista NAIA World Series.
After four scoreless innings, MBU got on the board in the top of the fifth with two runs to take a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Tennessee Wesleyan finally cracked the scoreboard with a run, cutting the Spartan lead in half at 2-1.
But, Missouri Baptist came back in the top of the seventh and tacked on a run to go back up by two at 3-1.
In the top of the ninth, the Spartans had a huge inning, scoring three runs with two outs to go up 6-1. Third baseman Joseph Taylor, who was 0-for-4 on the day entering his at-bat in the ninth, had a big two-RBI single with two away. It was followed up by a Garrett Vail RBI single, putting MBU up five.
The runs scored by the Spartans in the top of the ninth proved to be crucial, as TWC rallied in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs to cut the MBU lead to three. But, pitcher Matt Marsh forced a ground out to first with two outs to end it, clinching the win to keep the Spartans alive in the tournament.
Overall, Ryan Gunhouse led MBU on the day, going 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Patrick Johnson continued his strong tournament going 2-for-3 with three runs scored, while Pier Olivier-Dostaler and Taylor each had two RBI on the day.
On the mound, starter Mike Avila earned the win after a strong effort. In eight and a third, Avila gave up just three runs on eight hits, striking out three in the process.
For TWC, Josh McCray was 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Bulldogs at the plate. Reliever Justin Sprenger (1-2) was the loser for TWC on the mound.