College Sports

William Carey keeps NAIA World Series dream alive

William Carey first baseman James Land hits a deep fly against the Biloxi Shuckers during the fourth inning of their exhibition game at MGM Park in Biloxi on April 4. Land hit a double in William Carey’s 12-3 win over Missouri Baptist on Tuesday.
William Carey first baseman James Land hits a deep fly against the Biloxi Shuckers during the fourth inning of their exhibition game at MGM Park in Biloxi on April 4. Land hit a double in William Carey’s 12-3 win over Missouri Baptist on Tuesday. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

Every Crusader in the starting lineup registered at least one hit to propel No. 9 William Carey to a 12-3 victory over No. 6 Missouri Baptist on Tuesday afternoon in elimination play at the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

The 61st annual event it taking place at Harris Field inside Ed Cheff Stadium in Idaho.

With the win, William Carey locked down one of the final four places in this year’s field. The Crusaders, who are now 45-19 on the season and 7-4 all-time in the World Series, did not find out Wednesday’s opponent until after deadline. The pairings for Games 16 and 17 of the World Series are determined by the World Series Tournament Committee.

William Carey’s Larson Barkurn, who entered the game 2-for-12 at this year’s World Series, found his groove against the Spartan pitching staff. The Petal native ended the afternoon with three hits, including a two-run home run.

Additionally, the Crusaders continued to get production out of senior catcher Tyler Graves, who maintained at least a .500 batting average in the World Series with a 3-for-5, four RBI effort at the dish today. Former Harrison Central and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College standout James Land added a double and run scored in the game.

Graves blasted his third home run of the World Series — a two-run shot — over the hitter’s eye in center field to give William Carey a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Missouri Baptist added a run of its own in the top of the third inning to make a 2-1 contest.

William Carey doubled its run total to 4-1 when Barkurn hit the club’s second two-run home run on the afternoon in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Crusaders added another run before the end of the stanza on an errant throw on a fielder’s choice by the Missouri Baptist’s first baseman that scored Wes Brown.

Williams Carey’s offense continued to run on all cylinders into the bottom of the fifth inning, extending its lead to 11-1 on six hits.

The Spartans put two on the board in the sixth to cut to deficit to 11-3 when Austin Rieman launched a two-run home run.

William Carey closed the scoring with one run in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly.

Crusaders’ Cole Edgens (10-1) scattered seven hits and allowed three runs over the course of 5.1 innings en route to the win.

Missouri Baptist was led offensively by Collazo, who ended the day with three hits and one run scored.

The Spartans end the year with a 45-16 record and drop to 1-2 all-time at the World Series. Missouri Baptist was appearing in the event for the second time in program history.

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