LEWISTON, Idaho. -- The Bellevue University baseball team, after handing Lewis-Clark State their first loss of the tournament, 8-5, in their fourth game in Lewiston on Wednesday, continues their quest for an NAIA National Championship at the 2016 Avista-NAIA World Series.
Bellevue is making their 13th appearance in the World Series, and their first since 2008. The Bruins take on top-seeded Faulkner at 6:35 p.m. local time (8:35 p.m. CT) on Thursday in an elimination game.
The 60th annual event takes place May 27-June 3 at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho for the 17th-consecutive season and 25th time overall. The World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination tournament with the winner being crowned either June 2 or June 3.
Comprising the tournament field are 10 teams. In seeded order, they are; Faulkner (Ala.), Tennessee Wesleyan, Bellevue, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Science & Arts (Okla.), Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), Sterling (Kan.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), The Master's (Calif.), and Point (Ga.).
Just three teams remain after Science & Arts and Point were both eliminated on Saturday. The Master's and Auburn Montgomery were sent packing on Monday and Tuesday saw the tournament saying bon voyage to both Lindsey Wilson and Sterling. Tennessee Wesleyan was eliminated by Faulkner on Wednesday and the loser of Thursday's game will also be sent home.
Stretch Internet will be broadcasting the first 15 games of the 2016 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. Day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-World Series ticket is available for $29.95. Games played June 1-3 are going to be delivered on ESPN3.
How they got here:
No. 3 Bellevue topped Auburn Montgomery 6-5 in 10 innings on Friday night before falling 9-3 to Tennessee Wesleyan Monday afternoon. The Bruins rebounded by winning elimination games by scores of 4-1 against Lindsey Wilson on Tuesday afternoon and 8-5 against Lewis-Clark State on Wednesday.
No. 1 Faulkner opened the tournament on Saturday with a 5-4 walk-off win over Lindsey Wilson before falling into the loser's bracket after suffering a 3-0 setback against Lewis-Clark State. The Eagles responded by winning elimination games against both Sterling, 13-6, and Tennessee Wesleyan, 4-3.
No. 3 Bellevue (54-11/20-3 NSAA) won both the North Star's Regular-Season and Tournament Championships to qualify for the National Tournament for the 18th time in program history. Bellevue is 29-5 since the beginning of April and has not lost back-to-back games at any point during the season. After battling out of the loser's bracket in Grand Rapids last week, the Bruins qualified for their 13th World Series. Bellevue is one of three teams (Faulkner and Lewis-Clark State) in the World Series field with a National Championship to their program's credit.
No. 1 Faulkner (52-14/22-4 SSAC) won both the Southern States Regular-Season and Tournament Championships during the regular season. In the Opening Round Faulkner reached the Championship Round without a loss and held off a spirited Vanguard team in the "If Necessary Game" after dropping a game.
- Bellevue and Faulkner have met just once. That match-up came back in 1997 when Bellevue picked up a 9-4 win in Montgomery, Ala.
- Including this NAIA World Series appearance (their 13th in program history), the Bruins have racked up 20 victories, including five on the way to the 1995 National Championship.
- The Bruins are now 7-6 in their opening game at the World Series.
- Bellevue is 6-0 in elimination games this post-season. BU defeated Mayville State in the single-game NSAA Championship and won three-straight elimination games in the Opening Round Davenport Bracket to reach the World Series. Most recently they defeated Lindsey Wilson and Lewis-Clark State in World Series elimination games.
- Bellevue owns an 12-11 all-time mark in elimination games at the World Series (excluding the 2001 season).
- The Bruins have an impressive 50-0 record when holding the opposition to five or fewer runs. BU has two such wins in this year's World Series.
- Beating the best: Bellevue owns a 16-5 record against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes when they played them throughout the season.
Players to Watch:
No. 3 Bellevue –
- Sr. RHP Aaron Bain (4-1, 4.40 ERA, 37 SO, 47.0 IP)
- Sr. 2B Ross Feeley (.329/.442/.356, 6 XBH, 28 RBI, 57 Runs, 9 SB)
- Sr. OF Trevor Jones (.391/.444/.494, 16 XBH, 44 RBI, 62 Runs, 10 SB)
- Sr. 1B Joe Mancuso (.377/.469/.656, 15 XBH, 34 RBI, 27 Runs)
- Sr. OF Colton Nash (.333/.378/.443, 20 XBH, 46 RBI, 52 Runs)
- Sr. RHP Leland Tilley (10-1, 9 Saves, 1.56 ERA, 43 SO, 40.1 IP)
- Sr. LHP Braulio Torres-Perez (11-1, 2.72 ERA, 95 SO, 106.0 IP)
- Jr. OF Derik Bontempo (.423/.468/.653, 32 XBH, 77 RBI, 52 Runs)
- Jr. C Jake Browne (.338/.412/.451, 12 XBH, 41 RBI, 16 Runs)
- Jr. RHP Ben McKendall (12-2, 2.17 ERA, 122 SO, 116.1 IP)
- Jr. OF Joe Moran (.449/.464/.641, 19 XBH, 26 RBI, 45 Runs, 9 SB)
- Jr. RHP/1B Todd Nicks (11-2, 2.59 ERA, 98 SO, 87.0 IP)
No. 1 Faulkner –
- Sr. IF Mario Amaral (.338/.417/.513, 33 XBH, 68 RBI, 31 Runs)
- Sr. RHP Phil Anderson (6-3, 3.10 ERA, 54 SO, 58.0 IP)
- Sr. OF Nick Cain (.344/.437/.708, 33 XBH, 71 RBI, 48 Runs, 20 SB)
- Sr. IF Dennis Morton (.335/.404/.630, 29 XBH, 59 RBI, 50 Runs)
- Sr. IF Dario Polanco (.332/.426/.482, 20 XBH, 42 RBI, 49 Runs, 24 SB)
- Sr. LHP Christian Torres (10-2, 4.08 ERA, 73 SO, 79.1 IP)
- Sr. RHP Mark Vasquez (11-0, 1.72 ERA, 118 SO, 94.1 IP)
- Jr. LHP Marco Blancard (5-0, 2.00 ERA, 43 SO, 36.0 IP)
- Jr. RHP Miguel Castellanos (4-1, 4 Saves, 0.31 ERA, 40 SO, 29.0 IP)
- Jr. C T.J. Condon (.395/.505/.711, 27 XBH, 49 RBI, 34 Runs)
- Jr. RHP Austin Moreland (0-1, 8 Saves, 1.46 ERA, 35 SO, 24.2 IP)
- Jr. IF David Palenzuela (.353/.458/.562, 25 XBH, 43 RBI, 55 Runs)
- Jr. LHP Ivan Pelaez (6-3, 2.48 ERA, 59 SO, 72.2 IP)
The winner of today's game between Bellevue and Faulkner is rewarded with a trip to the winner-take-all Championship Game against L-C State at 6:35 p.m. on Friday.
Avista-NAIA World Series | Harris Field | Lewiston, Idaho
Thursday Schedule (Note: all times Pacific):
Game 18: No. 1 Faulkner vs. No. 3 Bellevue, 6:35 p.m. (Elimination Game)