KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Bryan's Kevin Roberts hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the fourth-seeded Lions to a 5-4 victory over fifth-seed Culver-Stockton (Mo.) on Tuesday night in an elimination game at the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket,
With the thrilling win, the Lions (now 35-27 on the year) staved off elimination for the second time on the day, and move on to face third-seed Cumberland (Tenn.) on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. Culver-Stockton is eliminated from the tournament with the loss, ending the year with a 30-28 overall mark.
Early on in the contest, Bryan took control, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 3-0 lead. Kelvin McMiller had the big hit for the Lions in the frame, smacking a two-run home over the left field fence to give the Lions the three-run edge.
After extending their lead out to 4-0 in the sixth, Culver-Stockton got back in the game in the seventh with one swing of the bat, as Gene Nanney hit a three-run home run with two outs to cut the Bryan lead down to 4-3.
Things remained that way entering the ninth inning, where the Wildcats threatened, putting a runner on third base with two outs. That runner, Danny Carroll, eventually scored on a wild pitch, tying the game up at four.
But, in the bottom of the inning, Roberts made sure the game would not be extended any longer, as he smashed a 2-1 pitch over the right field fence to keep the Lions' season alive.
Overall, Justin Morhardt had a big night for Bryan, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Elsewhere, McMIller went 2-for-3, while Roberts finished the night going 2-for-4. On the mound, starter Kenny Knudsen earned the complete game win, striking out seven to improve his record to 5-2 on the year.
Culver-Stockton was led in the loss by Cody Jacobson, who was 2-for-5. Reliever Cyrus Wimberly (6-7) was tabbed with the loss for the Wildcats on the mound.