It wasn't late May. That was made clear by the lack of thousands in the Harris Field stands and temperatures that dipped into the low 40s.
But with two highly ranked foes trading blows in an eventful, ragged battle, it did feel a bit like an NAIA World Series game.
Naturally, the Warriors won.
With the score tied in the 10th, Lewis-Clark State whipped up a one-out, bases-loaded situation, and catcher Cory Voss lifted a sacrifice fly to center to push across the final run in the Warriors' 10-9 victory over Georgia Gwinnett on Tuesday night.
Hours before the game, the NAIA released the season's first updated national rankings, which included GGC (17-3) at No. 2 and LCSC (12-3) at No. 6.
The teams then opened their four-game series with a contest that was untidy at times but packed with passion throughout.
"It definitely had a different feel - playing a single nine in the evening, against a very, very good team in Gwinnett," L-C coach Jeremiah Robbins said. "They've got guys all over the field, quality head coach, their staff. We've got a lot of respect for them. It's going to be a grind of a series, we know that."
The twists and turns Tuesday night included Alex Garland's two-run homer in the first to put GGC ahead right away, answered by a six-run LCSC surge in the second that featured Raymond Pedrina's grand slam. The Grizzlies rallied with three runs in the fourth, then took advantage of four Warrior errors in the seventh to score four runs and jump ahead 9-8.
Then came some gritty LCSC moments. Pedrina blasted a solo homer in the eighth to tie it. L-C pitcher Matt Becker retired the final nine GGC batters of the game. And the Warriors built their rally in the 10th on tough-minded at-bats.
Max Draijer led off the inning with a full-count walk, then Riley Way plunked a perfect bunt that almost resulted in a single. The Grizzlies then opted to intentionally walk Pedrina to put runners at second and first.
GGC brought in submarine pitcher Taylor Folsom, but he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the runners to move to third and second. After Kasey Bailey was intentionally walked to load the bases, Folsom threw two balls to Voss, and GGC brought in shortstop Jordan Tylski to pitch.
Then Voss, on a full count, swatted a ball to straightaway center that allowed Mason Verge, the pinch runner on third, to scurry home to score the winning run.
After having too many "give-me-up at-bats," as Robbins put it, in a series last weekend with British Columbia, the Warriors were less charitable in this game.
"I thought today we made their pitchers work," Robbins said, "and obviously there in the last inning to win it, there were some quality at-bats. Huge sac bunt by Riley Way."
LCSC starting pitcher Justin Hammergren went six innings, allowed eight hits and five runs (three of them earned). Becker worked the last four innings and gave up three hits and four runs (three earned).
The Warrior defenders fumbled their way to four errors in the seventh, which allowed the Grizzlies to score four runs and jump ahead.
That was Becker's first inning of work, but he bounced back nicely. He struck out the final four GGC batters he faced, which included striking out the side in the 10th.
"You don't win a lot of games making five errors," Robbins said, "but we really got clutch pitching, obviously from Hammergren, on short rest, and then Becker coming in and doing what he did. That allows you to possibly win a game when you make five errors."
Pedrina, LCSC's senior leadoff hitter, drove in five runs while Voss went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
The Grizzlies got a 3-for-4 showing from leadoff hitter C.J. Ballard while Brandon Frazier drove in three runs. GGC starting pitcher Gregory Loukinen was touched up in L-C's six-run second, but he ended up working five mostly effective innings.
"We wanted to come out here and just get a sense of what it's like to play in Lewiston," GGC coach Brad Stromdahl said. "It's such a great environment and the people in the town are so great. It's a lot of fun and it just gets us ready if we have the chance to be out here for the World Series in May."
These teams will play a doubleheader today starting at 1 p.m.
NOTES - There was an usual scoring circumstance in the top of the fourth. With Grizzlies on first and third with one out, Ballard popped a ball into right field that was caught by LCSC's Bailey for the second out. He threw toward home, but the GGC runner on third had tagged up and was able to score. Meanwhile, L-C catcher Voss relayed the ball to first to double off the runner who had left the base. Since that wasn't a forceout, the runner on third was able to score just before the third out was recorded. ... The complete NAIA rankings can be found on page 2B. Faulkner of Alabama is No. 1 with a 20-0 record.
GEORGIA GWINNETT LEWIS-CLARK STATE
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Ballard rf 4 1 3 1 Pedrina cf 5 2 2 5
Jones cf 4 1 0 0 Bailey rf/lf 5 2 2 0
McCorkle 2b 5 2 2 1 Voss c 5 0 3 2
Garland 1b 5 2 2 2 Parente pr/ph 1 1 0 0
Barnes dh/lf 4 1 1 0 McDowell 1b 4 0 1 1
Carrigan lf 5 1 0 1 Victorine 3b 5 0 1 0
Coursey ss 0 0 0 0 Hildago pr 0 0 0 0
Frazier 3b 4 1 1 3 Callahan dh 4 1 0 0
Tylski ss/p 4 0 0 0 Lampkin lf 3 1 1 1
Lark c 3 0 2 0 Draijer ss 3 1 0 0
Robinson pr 0 0 0 0 Verge pr 0 1 0 0
Johnson pr 0 0 0 0 Way 2b 3 1 0 1
Totals 38 9 11 8 Totals 38 10 10 10
Ga. Gwinnett 200 300 400 0- 9 11 1
Lewis-Clark St. 060 011 010 1-10 10 5
Georgia Gwinnett ip h r er bb so
Loukinen 5 5 7 7 3 3
Kelly (L,1-1) 4.1 5 3 3 2 0
Folsom 0 0 0 0 1 0
Tylski 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
Lewis-Clark St. ip h r er bb so
Hammergren 6 8 5 3 1 3
Becker (W,1-0) 4 3 4 3 2 4
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