RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Brandon Godfrey went seven strong innings, and Tyson Leighton had two hits, including an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that gave fourth-seed Vanguard the lead for good as the Lions went on to defeat fifth-seed Huntington, 6-3, in the opening game of the 2010 NAIA National Championship Opening Round-Group 2.
The win moves the Lions to 33-18 and into the winner’s bracket where they will play top-seed California Baptist University Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The Foresters fall to 31-21 and into the loser’s bracket at 9 a.m. Wednesday against the loser of College of Idaho and Maddona.
With the game tied 3-3 in the sixth, the Lions loaded the bases with one out and Leighton came through with a single to right off Huntington starter Mitch Bowers (10-4). After Bowers was replaced, Zachary Leighton hit a sacrifice fly, and the Lions led 5-3.
Godfrey (8-4) scattered five hits in his seven innings. One of those hits was a three-run homer by Justin Branock that gave the Foresters a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth. Godfrey settled in after that and only allowed one more runner to reach third. He walked three and struck out two to pick up his first win since April 14 against nationally-ranked Fresno Pacific.
“Brandon did a great job for us today,” said Vanguard Head Coach Ralph Grajeda. “He attacked the zone and had all his pitches working. The biggest thing for us is that he finished seven innings for us, and we needed that.”
Vanguard finished with 11 hits. Four different players had two apiece. Eric Krzysiak had two and got the Lions on the board first with a solo shot down the left field line in the third. Brandon Pesante tied it at 3-3 with a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth.
Bowers gave up five earned runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings of work for Huntington. Travis Frantz had three of the Forester’s six hits.
Zachary Leighton had two RBIs, adding an RBI single in the eighth.
by Micah McDaniel, California Baptist University
HU Falls to Vanguard in opener Branock’s three-run homer not enough
By AUSTAN KAS, Huntington Herald-Press
Huntington University’s baseball team’s first experience in California wasn’t a good one.
Playing in their opening game of the National Tournament, the Foresters lost to Vanguard University 6-3 early Tuesday morning at California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif.
“There were five or six plays throughout the course of the game that we needed to make, and we simply didn’t make them,” said HU coach Mike Frame. “We played like we’d never been at this level before. We were tentative and in awe a little bit. I was afraid of that.”
The loss drops Huntington (31-21) into the loser’s bracket where they will play either Madonna University or the College of Idaho at 9 a.m. (PDT) on Wednesday morning.
Entering the top of the fourth inning trailing 1-0, the fifth-seeded Foresters mounted their only offense of the day with a two-out rally. Travis Frantz and Eric Harpring ripped back-to-back singles, and Justin Branock crushed a three-run home run over the left-field wall to put HU in front 3-1.
Fourth-seeded Vanguard (33-18) answered immediately in the bottom half of the inning. After a hit-by-pitch, No. 9 hitter Brandon Pesante tied the game with a two-run dinger.
Vanguard took the upper hand with a two-run sixth, getting an RBI single from Tyson Leighton and a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Zachary Leighton to knock Huntington ace Mitch Bowers out of the game.
The Foresters were unable to piece together anything else against Vanguard starter Brandon Godfrey, who scattered five hits over seven innings, with Branock’s longball as the only blemish.
Vanguard tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Brandon Young led off the frame by getting hit with a pitch. He proceeded to swipe both second and third base before touching home on Zachary Leighton’s RBI single.
Huntington, who finished with only six hits, had just one baserunner over the final two innings.
Bowers (9-4) was touched up for eight runs on five hits in 5 1-3 innings. Travis Frantz was the only Foresters with multiple hits, going 3-for-4.
“Hopefully we can come back (Wednesday) and play well,” said Frame. “We’ve made it tough on ourselves because it’s going to take a lot of games to get through this thing. We’ll just try to hang around and stay alive as long as we can.”
The Foresters take on loser of the game between Madonna and Idaho in an elimination contest Wednesday morning.