KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Top-ranked LSU Shreveport will be making its second consecutive trip to the main draw of the NAIA Baseball World Series after a 5-1 win over Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Saturday to win its Opening Round bracket. Pilot pitcher Logan Norris tossed a complete game gem and was the second Pilot starting pitcher to do so in the tournament.
Norris (8-1) retired 10 of the first 11 batters that he faced with the only hitter to reach base on an error that did no further damage. The right-hander got out of a tough jam in the fourth inning as Lindsey Wilson loaded the bases with only one out but they only got one run on a sac fly.
After the fourth inning hiccup only three batters reached the rest of the game against the Benton native; two on walks and one infield hit. Norris allowed only three hits in the game but only one made it out of the infield allowing just one run, three walks, and six strikeouts as he had several hitters going back to the dugout shaking their head because they had no chance to make contact on his big breaking ball. He threw 112 pitches.
Lindsey Wilson (43-16) played hard but was overmatched today by the nation's top club. Derek Cape (8-2) was the losing pitcher allowing three earned runs, four total, three walks and four strikeouts in 5 and 2/3. Darren Travers was the final reliever of the game and allowed only one hit in an inning and 2/3 throwing 19 pitches 24 hours after tossing a complete game with 93 pitches in the 1-0 loss to the Pilots. Daniel Pulliam was the middle reliever as he allowed one earned run on two hits in 2/3 of an inning.
LSUS (51-4) scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning as Kyle Pearson reached when the Blue Raiders' third baseman's throw sailed over the first baseman's head to allow Kade Billeaudeaux, who had single to start the inning, to score as the Pilots led 1-0 after three.
The Blue Raiders answered to tie the game in the top of the fifth with a sac fly but the tied game would not last too long as the Pilots regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning and never looked back. A walk by Devin Greco and back-to-back singles by Manny Estrada and a bunt single from Stephen Hobbins loaded the bases to allow Billeaudeaux to drive in Greco with a sac fly to regain the lead for the Pilots in a 2-1 game.
Estrada's bases loaded walk the next inning scored the third run of the game while Hobbins followed with a sac fly to make it a 4-1 LSUS' lead until they increased it again by one run in the seventh inning as Estrada led off the inning with a single and then scored later on a Billeaudeaux single for a 5-1 margin for the Pilots.
LSU Shreveport pounded 13 hits but left 13 on the bases while the Blue Raiders were held to just three hits and stranded only five. Two of the three hits for visitors came off the bat of Adam Peacock.
The Pilots had four batters reach the multi hit plateau as Kyle Pearson was 3-for-5 while Greco and Estrada were both 2-for-4. Billeaudeaux did a great job at the bottom of the order going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
LSUS will make their second consecutive trip to Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho, for the Avista-NAIA World Series as they were the first team to qualify this year in addition to the host Lewis-Clark State College. The Series will begin on Friday, May 25, 2012, and go through Friday, June 1, 2012. Based on the history, the Pilots will be the no. 1 seed and have a bye on Day one and not play until Sat., May 26. The opponent will be determined.