MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Faulkner Athletics) - Top-seeded Faulkner (50-10) erupted with a four-run third inning and never looked back en route to a 8-4 victory over third-seeded Huntington (35-13) and the Montgomery Bracket title here at Harrison Field this evening.
The Eagles went undefeated in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round to clinch their fifth straight Avista-NAIA World Series appearance, the most of any active member institution.
A costly Huntington infield error immediately following a John Price single in the third inning gave Faulkner a 1-0 lead, but it was designated hitter T.J. Condon's ensuing three-run homer that really opened the flood gates for the Eagles. The home run was Faulkner's first of the tournament.
The Foresters countered with a solo shot to hard left field from Andy Rosa in the following at-bat.
Lefty Austin Paschke went yard in Faulkner's three-run fifth inning delivering a solo crack opposite field to the right of the scoreboard.
A pair of RBI singles courtesy of Price and Reid Long capped the frame leaving the Eagles with a six-run advantage.
Faulkner did Huntingdon a favor hitting a batter in a bases-loaded situation in the sixth shaving a run off the cushion, but the Eagles got it back on a Michael Darr RBI single in the seventh.
Dylan Hendricks hit a leadoff screamer out at left field in the eighth inning and Tyler Zimske did the same in a leadoff position in the ninth, cutting the Faulkner lead further.
Then, with two runners on base and two outs on the board, Jonathan Wilkens shut the home run machine down forcing an infield ground out.
Price finished the game 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI.
Paolo Montezuma was 2-for-4.
Tyler Tungate allowed two earned runs on just two hits he spread over five innings while striking out four batters in the win.
Austin Moreland held the mound for the sixth inning and bailed the Eagles out of a tense bases-loaded jam.
Third baseman Tra'mayne Holmes tossed the following 2 2/3 frames and fanned three batters while giving up the two late homers.
Conner West suffered the season-ending loss for Huntington after surrendering six earned runs on five hits in the first four innings of the ball game.
Faulkner claimed one of nine open spots in the Avista-NAIA World Series scheduled to begin May 26 on the campus of Lewis-Clarke State in Lewiston, Idaho. The Eagles were the national runner-up in the event last year.