LEWISTON, Idaho – Sam Faith connected on a two-run walk-off home run to center field with two outs in the ninth inning to give top-seeded Southeastern University (Florida) a 9-7 victory against No. 8 seed Georgia Gwinnett College late Saturday night at the Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
The Grizzlies (46-15) enjoyed a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning before seeing the Fire respond to eventually take a 7-6 lead. GGC tied the game in the top of the eighth inning with some late-inning heroics of its own. Then came Faith’s decisive walk-off homer.
Back-to-home home runs from senior Livingston Morrisand sophomore Chase Evans gave Georgia Gwinnett College an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Morris’ blast set the program’s single-season school record (19).
The fifth inning produced nine runs between the two teams with the Grizzlies pushing across four runs. An infield single from junior Blaze O’Saben scored junior Myles McKisic to begin the big offensive inning. Freshman Braxton Meguiar added a two-run single before scoring on an RBI single from Morris gave the team a 6-0 advantage.
Southeastern (55-3) responded with a five-run bottom half of the fifth frame. Gary Lora provided the big hit with a three-run home run to center field to cut the deficit to one run, 6-5.
The Fire would take a 7-6 lead two innings later following an RBI single from Faith.
However, the Grizzlies had an answer in the top of the eighth inning.
McKisic lined a base hit to left field on a 3-2 count with two outs. A defensive error in left field allowed senior pinch runner Gavin Heltemes to score from first base and square the contest at 7-7.
Then, Faith delivered Southeastern’s ninth-inning heroics with two outs to advance further into the winners’ bracket. Meanwhile, GGC drops into the loser’s bracket, playing at 8:30 a.m. pacific time on Monday, May 30, in an elimination-round game against the winner of Sunday’s game between Westmont College (California) and Webber International University (Florida).
Sophomore starting pitcher Tyler Clayton struck out seven batters in 4.1 innings. Two relievers helped GGC’s pitching staff record 13 strikeouts in the contest.
McKisic, Meguiar and Morris each collected two hits to lead the team’s eight-hit offensive attack.
Both teams hit two home runs, but it was Southeastern’s second home run of the game that delivered the victory. Sam Faith connected on a two-run walk-off home run past the center field fence with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Georgia Gwinnett College is scheduled to play Monday, May 30, in an elimination-round game at the Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, starting at 8:30 a.m. pacific time. The opponent will be the winner of Sunday’s contest between Westmont College (California) and Webber International University (Florida).