KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Solid pitching and timely hitting proved to be the keys to success for No. 1 seed Tennessee Wesleyan as it defeated No. 5 seed St. Francis 3-0 Thursday in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket.
Starter Corey Rhoney went seven innings and allowed no runs on four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts, improving his record to 9-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Corey Collins tossed two shutout frames with two strikeouts to collect his fourth save of the year for the Bulldogs (46-11 overall).
The game was tight throughout, but Tennessee Wesleyan broke the scoreless deadlock with a Drew Levi, two-out, two-run double in the fourth. The Bulldogs tacked on a run in the fifth when Thomas Sicking scored off a double play, making it 3-0.
The Rhoney-Collins pitching duo took care of the rest for Tennessee Wesleyan.
St. Francis (38-16 overall) got a solid pitching performance out of Matt Huck, who went the distance and allowed three earned runs on nine hits and a walk with four strikeouts. However, he suffered the loss to fall to 8-2 on the year.
With the win, Tennessee Wesleyan will face No. 3 seed Indiana Tech in the winners' bracket at 2:30 p.m. Friday. St. Francis will play the winner of the Georgetown/Campbellsville contest at 6 p.m. Friday.