KINGSPORT, Tenn. - No. 5 seed Culver-Stockton (Mo.) gave top-seeded Missouri Baptist all it could handle, but in the end, the Spartans proved victorious with the 11-10 decision in Game 3 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket on Monday.
With the win, Missouri Baptist (46-12 overall) advances to face No. 3 seed Cumberland (Tenn.) on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Culver-Stockton (30-27 overall) awaits the winner of the game between No. 4 seed Bryan (Tenn.) and No. 2 seed Brewton-Parker (Ga.) at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Bryan and Brewton-Parker play an elimination game at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
Culver-Stockton scored a run in each of the first three innings before posted a three-spot in the fourth for a 6-3 advantage. Missouri Baptist battled back with a run in the fifth, two in the sixth and four in the top of the eighth for a 10-7 lead.
However, the Wildcats weren't dead yet. Culver-Stockton put together a three-run rally to tie the game at 10-10. Cody Jacobson came through with a two-run single to cap the outburst.
In the ninth, the Spartans had two on with one out when Jeff Smith doubled to push the go-ahead run across. Culver-Stockton got two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but a flyout to center ended the threat.
Three Spartans belted home runs. Joseph Stropp had one in going 4-for-4 with a RBI, while Orlando Olivera launched one in going 2-for-4 with three batted in. Eli Roundtree blasted a solo home run in finishing 1-for-5.
Michael Murano tossed the final two innings to pick up the win, improving to 3-4.
Jacobson led Culver-Stockton at the plate in going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Gene Nanney also drove in three as he finished 3-for-5.