Eagles To Play For Championship
KINSTON, N.C. – Asbury is one win away from their first trip to the NAIA National Tournament after a 10-1 defeat of KIAC rival Indiana Southeast on Thursday in the Unaffiliated Tournament being played at Grainger Stadium. The Eagles started the season 0-17 but have won six straight and nine of 11.
Asbury, which hasn't lost in the double-elimination tournament, will play for the championship at 2 p.m. on Friday. An Asbury loss would create a second game, with the winner advancing to the National Tournament.
For the first time in this tournament the Eagles scored first, adding a run in the second on Trey Richard’s error at short, allowing Tyler Wooden to score from second. Asbury (17-36) added three more in the third on four hits. Tyler Weaver drove in the first of three on the day in that inning and ended the day with three hits.
The Eagles added two more in the fourth and another in the fifth, scoring a run in four straight innings. Asbury scored three more in the eighth, again piecing together four hits in the inning. In this tournament the Eagles have pounded out 13, 13 and 15 hits.
Despite the offense coming alive for their biggest explosion of the tournament, the story of the tournament and the postseason continues to be the starting pitching. Logan Howard, who beat IUS 2-1 in the KIAC Tournament Championship game last weekend, improved on the successes of Isaiah Bell and Brad Williams for this week. Howard, a freshman, allowed only a single run in eight innings of work. The righty struck out three and walked four while scattering seven hits. He improves to 3-4 on the season, while Clay Hardesty (5-2) takes the loss after allowing seven runs in six innings.
The Eagles have taken four of six against the Grenadiers this season.
Asbury came in as the #6 seed in the six-team tournament and has knocked off the #1 seed (Point Park), #4 seed (Edward Waters) and the #3 seed (Indiana Southeast). Talladega, Point Park and IUS are the remaining teams in the tournament. Talladega plays Point Park in an elimination game today at 2 p.m. with the winner playing IUS at 6 p.m. The winner of the 6 p.m. game will play Asbury at 2 p.m. on Friday.
UPDATE: Point Park defeated Talladega 2-0 to eliminate Talladega. Point Park then defeated Indiana Southeast 6-2 to advance to Friday's championship game against Asbury. Point Park needs to beat Asbury twice, the Eagles only need one win. First pitch is at 2 pm, second game if necessary will start 30 minutes following the completion of game one.