By: LSU-Shreveport Athletics
LEWISTON, Id (LSU-Shreveport Athletics) – After a nine-year layoff, the LSUS Baseball has returned to Lewiston, Idaho and the NAIA College World Series. The Pilots last appearance in 2012 resulted in a third-place finish, and the 2021 team hopes to add to the impressive legacy that is LSUS Baseball and bring home the program’s first National Championship.
Up first for the Pilots were the Seahawks of Keiser University. After an impressive Opening Round where the Seahawks sweep the competition, they decided to throw off and leave the potential national pitcher of the year, Pablo Arevalo, on the bench against the heavy hitting Pilots. This decision did not work out well for the Seahawks.
In the first game of the World Series at 8:30am everyone in attendance could see the Pilots were a bit nervous coming out of the gate. A few routine plays that the Pilots usually make resulted in mistakes that allowed two early runs for the Seahawks. However, in the fourth inning the Pilots would wake up and put those jitters to bed. Carlos Pineyro would lead off the inning with a triple down the right field line, followed by a single from Taylor Fajardo would get LSUS on the board. Josh Wunnenberg would then reach out a bunt advancing Fajardo to second with no outs. The next two batters would get out, but then it was rally time. With two outs Ryan Major hitting in the nine hole, would single up the middle scoring Fajardo, tying the game, and starting the two out rally. The All-American Payton Robertson would then hit his fifth homerun (8th overall) in his last seven games to open finish the scoring for the Pilots and create a 5-2 lead.
Carlos Pineyro would lead off the fifth inning reaching on a walk and finding his way on base for the third time in the game. A stolen base, then a wild throw would allow him to advance to third before Fajardo would double to deep right center scoring Pineyro from third. Two more Pilots would reach base before a very hot Ryan Major would single again scoring Julian Flores from third.
The scoring would quiet until the seventh where LSUS would load the bases with no outs. Robertson would take a pitch off the head walking in a run, followed by a fielders choice that would score two more runs for the Pilots opening up a 10-2 lead.
On the mound, Sebastian Selway would once again kept opposing hitters off balance. Striking out nine batters while only giving up two runs, the Ace for the Pilots showed once again why he is one of the best in the country. Coming in for relief, Kevin Miranda would continue where he left off in the Opening Round going four innings while striking out five, which was good for 14 strikeouts for the Pilot’s pitching staff.
Offensively the Pilots showed how potent their offense is as Robertson went 3-5 with a 3-run homerun, four RBI and a walk. McNicholas would go 3-6 with one RBI, Pineyro went 2-4 with a single, triple, a walk, and a web-gem sliding grab to end the Seahawks threat in the fifth inning. Fajardo went 2-5 with two RBI, and Major went 2-4 with two timely singles to keep the Pilot’s rallies alive.
Pitchers: Selway went 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. While Miranda went 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
Up next: (1) Southeastern University on Saturday at 5pm CT in the Winner’s Bracket.