OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – For the second straight game, the No. 25 Sterling College Warriors won in come from behind fashion by beating No. 3 Oklahoma City University 2-1 to advance to the NAIA Opening Round Championship of the Oklahoma City Regional. The Warriors scored two runs in the top of the ninth and then shut down the Stars in the bottom of the ninth to earn the victory and advance to the Championship Game on Sunday at 2:30 pm at Jim Wade Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Stephen Rodgers reached on a single to lead off the top of the ninth inning after the Warriors had been shut out the first eight innings. Shey Miller sacrifice bunted and reached first on a Star's error. Joe Williams then sacrificed bunted to move Rodgers and Miller to second and third. Matt Krause then reached on a Star error which allowed Rodgers to score from third. Tom Schwartz walked to load the bases and then Miller scored on a wild pitch. Back to back strikeouts ended the inning, but Sterling had already completed the damage.
In the bottom of the ninth, Levi LeBass got Jonathan Sigado to ground out to start the inning. Braydon Brumley then grounded out as a pinch hitter. For the final out of the game LeBass got Chris Munoz to fly out in center to Jared Forbush for a Warrior victory.
LeBass was lights out from the mound for Sterling in a game that the Warriors struggled from the plate. LeBass pitched a complete 9.0 innings, giving up just one run which was unearned on six hits with five strikeouts in 119 pitches to earn his ninth win of the season.
Rich Hawkins, the Stars' ace, was the losing pitcher, going 8.1 innings and giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits and six strikeouts in 105 pitches. The loss was only Hawkins's second on the season.
Rodgers, Schwartz, and Forbush were the only Warriors to record hits in the game while Krause got the only RBI for Sterling.
Munoz led Oklahoma City at the plate, going two for four.
With the win, Sterling improves to 45-12 on the season and advances to the Championship Game of the NAIA Opening Round in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Warriors will play the winner of Oklahoma City University verse the winner of Game Six. Sterling will play at 2:30 pm on Sunday.
Oklahoma City falls to 44-10 and will now play in the loser's bracket championship against the winner of Lubbock Christian verse Mount Marty at 11:00 am on Sunday.