OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – In their first game ever at the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, the No. 25 Sterling College Warriors came from behind in the bottom of the eighth inning to earn a 9-8 win over No. 19 Lubbock Christian to earn a trip to the winner's bracket final against No. 3 Oklahoma City.
Matthew Krause delivered a two out single in the bottom of the eighth to score Shey Miller and Joe Williams and gave Sterling a 9-8 lead heading into the top of the ninth. Matt Eshleman held the lead for Sterling, getting Lubbock Christian to go down in order to end the game.
The Warriors trailed most of the game and needed four runs in the eighth inning to win. All four runs came with two outs in the inning. Matt Watson reached on an error with two outs. Brock Moss came in to courtesy run for Watson and advanced to third on Stephen Rodger's single. Miller drew a walk to load the bases for Williams, who delivered a two RBI single. With runners at first and third, Krause delivered the game winning single, allowing the speedy Williams to score all the way from first base.
Eshleman received the win for Sterling, going 1.1 innings and giving up one run on two hits. Sterling's starter Daniel Cloteaux went 7.2 innings and giving up seven runs on 14 hits in the no decision.
Krause had the big day at the plate for Sterling, going three for five with two RBIs and one run scored. Williams also had a multiple RBI day for Sterling, going two for five with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Shane Ingram picked up the loss for Lubbock Christian. Ingram pitched 7.2 innings, giving up nine runs on 10 hits with seven strikeouts.
Lubbock Christian was led at the plate by Richard Bohlken who went three for five with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored.
With the win, Sterling improves to 44-12 and will play No. 3 Oklahoma City tomorrow at 2:30 pm. The game will be available on 95.9 HKFM for listeners in the Sterling area.