LEWISTON, Idaho (Faulkner Athletics) - Ivan Pelaez's excellence from the mound coupled with a methodical offensive attacked that capitalized on five errors lifted second-seeded Faulkner (53-11) to a 5-3 victory over top-seeded Oklahoma City (50-10) in this afternoon's elimination-game showdown here at Harris Field in the Avista-NAIA World Series.
Tra'mayne Holmes was the first player to cross home plate and did so on a brilliant sacrifice bunt from John Price in the team's first at-bat.
T.J. Condon then made it to base and later scored on a pair of infield throwing errors leaving the Eagles with a 2-0 lead after an inning of play.
Price was a play-maker on defense as well robbing Shaun Corsco of a home run with an astonishing snag over the wall in center field in the top of the second. It was the senior's second MLB-caliber catch of the Series.
Ryan Rosa rocked a leadoff double in the bottom of the second and his ensuing stolen base set the stage for L.D. Coney's RBI single.
Coney in turn stole both second and third base putting another run in the chamber, but the Eagles were unable to convert the score.
While the Faulkner offense was busy securing run support, Pelaez continued to frustrate the Stars with uncanny accuracy. The senior lefty fired just 86 pitches on the day and tossed fewer than 10 pitches in three different innings.
Wes Roberson made it a four-run affair when he scored all the way from second base on a bazaar throwing error by the catcher.
The blunder would have simply resulted in a single base advance, but a lackluster effort by the infield to scoop the loose ball ultimately cost the team a run.
While the Stars continued to look for offensive solutions, the Faulkner club patiently attacked the run column and a solo homer from Price capped the scoring for the day in the fifth inning.
After 7 1/3 innings of relative silence an exceptionally well-struck ball courtesy of Lane Milligan down the third base line resulted in a pair of runs for the Stars in the eighth.
A short chopper down the first base line brought in another just three pitches later.
Holmes then shifted from third base to the mound to log the final four outs. No runners reached base and the junior secured two strikeouts.
Pelaez (11-3), who earned the opening victory against The Master's on Saturday, made today's win over the nation's top team look effortless for the buck of the contest. He surrendered just two earned runs while scattering six hits over 7 2/3 innings against the high-octane offense. Peleaz gave up just two hits prior to the seventh frame and had three strikeouts on the day.
His strikeout and hit figures might not have been quite as jaw-dropping as his numbers in the Opening Round dismantling of Huntington (Ind.), but his effort today was certainly reminiscent of last year's showing against Lewis-Clark State in this very stadium, and that is saying something.
Pelaez's cool demeanor and brilliant efficiency instilled a confidence in his teammates that simply cannot be tallied in any statical category.
"Ivan did a fantastic job today," said head coach Patrick McCarthy after the game. "There's no doubt about that. But this was the very definition of a team win. We had great pitching, guys stealing bases, a clutch home run from Price and solid defense. You can't beat at team as talented as Oklahoma City without everyone doing their job."
Faulkner awaits the outcome of the Lewis-Clake State and William Carey matchup. A William Carey victory would pit the Eagles against the Warriors in a do-or-die rematch, while a LCSC victory would require Faulkner to topple the talented home team twice over the next two days.