LEWISTON, Idaho -- Braulio Torres-Perez kept the Blue Raider hitters off balance, the Bruin defense did what they do best, and the offense came through with some timely hitting to lead the No. 2 Bellevue University baseball team past (RV) Lindsey Wilson, 4-1, on Tuesday afternoon in their third game at the 2016 Avista-NAIA World Series.
After Bellevue fell to Davenport in the Opening Round Tournament, the coaching staff put together a check list of all the things the team would need to do to win the World Series title. That list keeps getting shorter, thanks to performances like Torres-Perez had on Tuesday.
Torres-Perez mixed six pitches on the afternoon to keep the Lindsey Wilson offense – which scored 15 runs their previous game – at bay. He scattered five hits and yielded just one run to improve to 11-1 on the season. He threw an economical 105 pitches, 73 of them in the strike zone.
"I liked the slider today, but all of my pitches seemed to work," Torres-Perez said. "Mentally, I was a little nervous coming into this one. My parents and high school coach are here and they helped me along with my teammates."
Torres-Perez, who played high school and junior college ball in neighboring Washington state, said this outing was his favorite of the season because of what was on the line.
Lindsey Wilson finishes their season at 44-25. Starter Tyler Russell turned in a quality performance for the Blue Raiders. In 7.1 innings he held the potent BU offense to three earned runs and struck out eight batters against no walks.
Bellevue struck first in the third inning. Jake Browne started the BU offense with a single to center before being replaced by courtesy runner Kevin Rodriguez. Rodriguez did his job, stealing a base and coming in to score on a double down the left field line by Connor Garrison.
That's where the game stayed until the sixth when Lindsey Wilson struck for their lone run of the ballgame. Caleb Ratzman delivered a two-out single and Aaron Ashton was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on base. Austin Atwell then singled to center to score Ratzman and tie the game.
The game wouldn't remain tied for long. In the bottom half, Derik Bontempo singled to lead off the frame before coming around to score on a double by Browne. The combination of Bontempo and Browne has been having an outstanding tournament to date. The duo is hitting a combined .520 (13-25) in the tournament.
BU added on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth to help secure the victory and give Torres-Perez some breathing room. Joe Moran led off by reaching third on a three-base error before coming in to score on a sac fly for Bontempo. Joe Mancuso followed that run up with a towering solo home run over the left field fence to put the Bruins ahead 4-1.
Bontempo, Browne, and Garrison each had multi-hit games for the Purple and Gold. Jan Carlos Ortiz has a pair of hits for Lindsey Wilson, the only player to come close to solving the BU starter.
"We just want to keep this going and check off another game on the list." Torres-Perez said.
Quotes from Head Coach Duane Monlux:
"I couldn't be more proud of Braulio and his performance. To go out and pitch like that in that situation where you have to save on your bullpen in tournament time. He went out and competed."
"This team has been all about playing close games and winning those kinds of games. Our guys don't get rattled, our pitchers threw strikes and the defense played well. The two runs in the eighth inning were huge for insurance purposes."
"We're down to the last four teams, everyone is playing to survive and advance at this point. We're looking forward to some great baseball being played here over the next couple of days."
The Bruins improve to a remarkable 49-0 in games in which they allow five or fewer runs.
Bellevue (53-11) awaits a decision by the tournament game committee to find out who they will play tomorrow. The committee tries to avoid game pairings that pit teams against one-another that have already played during the tournament. That decision will likely be announced following today's Faulkner-Sterling game.