Tournament MVP Patrick Smith hurled three dominant innings of relief, and the Lancers broke a 3-3 tie with five unanswered runs in their last two at-bats to beat Oklahoma Wesleyan 8-3 Saturday, winning the 2012 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) World Series.
"I've played and coached a long time and this is a first, and it's a special feeling," said Adcock, who was named NCCAA National Coach of the Year. "I told the guys before the game that you can be in this game a long time and never get this opportunity so when you get it you have to capitalize on it."
And capitalize is exactly what the Lancers (43-13) did.
They carried a 3-2 lead into the fifth inning when the first two Eagles reached on an error and a bunt single to chase starter Jesse Arreola. Smith came in and gave up an RBI double to the first batter he faced, which not only tied the game 3-3, but put runners at second and third with nobody out.
Smith (10-2) got a lineout to short from Jarett Hardy, the Eagles' cleanup hitter. He then induced Josh Davis into a flyout to left and then struck out Nick Palese on three pitches, putting something extra on the final pitch.
"I reached back and the adrenaline was pumping on that fastball," said Smith. "Whenever you strike a guy out to end an inning it's a rush that pumps the guys up in the dugout."
The game turned on that strikeout.
"The game really boiled down to that situation," said Adcock. "They had some good two-strike at-bats, but he dialed it up and blew that guy away. I don't know what he hit on the gun, but I think that was his best fastball of the year. We then came in and were able to score."
Leadoff hitter Luke Esquerra, who reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances to finish his World Series, led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo blast to left center on a 3-2 pitch to break the tie.
Then, the Lancers' 2-3-4 hitters--Kevin Odom, Matt Marnati and Blair Moore--who were a combined 6-for-45 in the World Series coming into today, all got in the act to give the Lancers a key insurance run. Odom doubled to right field to chase OWU starter Dustin Phelps (7-6). Marnati singled, and Moore drove in Odom with a single to make it 5-3.
"We could have easily blown the lead and panicked, but those guys who had been struggling stayed with their approach and came up big," said Adcock.
After a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth by Smith, the Lancers added three more runs in the sixth, all of them after a two-out Eagle to blow the game open. Odom had an RBI single and Marnati had a two-RBI double that for all intents and purposes put the game on ice.
The Eagles got a pair of two out hits in the seventh, but Smith, who threw a complete-game Wednesday night and came back on just two day's rest, got Davis to fly out to Andy Crowley to clinch the championship.
Smith and Lancers piled like champs on the infield.
"I got my foot stepped on, but I'll take a little pain for what we just went through," said Smith, referring to being on the bottom of a 35-person pileup. "I can't even explain it. I'm at a loss for words. It's complete storybook ending to the season. This is a great group of guys."
Smith gave up just three hits and had one strikeout, but it was a big one. He finished the tournament with two wins, allowing just one earned run in 10 innings of work to win MVP honors.
"After he struck that guy out in the fifth, he looked at me and said ‘you don't need to go to the bullpen; I've got this one,' and I believed him," said Adcock.
After scoring eight runs in the first three games combined of the World Series, the Lancers scored eight for the second straight game. Even better than that, in six total games the Lancer pitchers combined to allow just nine total runs (three earned) in 41 innings pitched, a 0.66 ERA.
Esquerra, Odom and Marnati, who had just one hit in five previous World Series games, all had two hits apiece. Esquerra finished the World Series 7 for 12 (.583) with a team-best five runs.
Marnati and Moore both finished with two RBIs each. Though he was 0 for 2 today, Cole Bullard was also named to the NCCAA World Series All-Tournament Team, hitting .333 with a pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch and playing stellar behind the plate and on the infield.
With today's championship, CBU won its sixth NCCAA National Championship this year.