KINGSPORT, Tenn. - No. 4 seed Bryan (Tenn.) smashed 14 hits, and held off a late comeback attempt from second-seeded Brewton-Parker (Ga.) to take a 4-3 decision in an elimination game at the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket on Tuesday morning.
With the win, Bryan (34-27) moves onto another elimination game later today against fourth-seeded Culver Stockton (Mo.), which will begin at 6 p.m. With the loss, Brewton-Parker is eliminated from the tournament, and finishes the year with a 32-13 record.
Things remained tight throughout the contest, as both starting pitchers (LJ Rowden for Bryan and Evin Einhardt for Brewton-Parker) tossed solid games. Things came to ahead in the top of the eighth inning, with the game knotted up at 1-1.
There, Bryan took control, scoring three runs off of Einhardt to open a 4-1 lead, on the heels of three RBI singles. Entering the ninth, Bryan appeared to be on their way to an easy three-run win, as BPC was down to their last outs in the ninth.
But, a Bryan error with two outs not only kept the Barons alive, but also enabled a run to score, cutting the lead down to 4-2. Next, the Lions made another mistake on a stolen base attempt, and BPC took advantage yet again, scoring to cut the lead to one run.
This prompted a Bryan pitching change, and reliever Kenny Knudsen was able to force a ground out with a runner on third to end it, earning the save in the process.
Overall, Bryan had six players in their line-up record two hits, apiece, with Cody Rhinehardt, Justin Morhardt, and Joey Underwood all notching RBI. On the mound, Rowden collected the win, allowing just one earned run in eight and two-thirds innings of work.
For Brewton-Parker, Mike Parker led the way, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.