For the first time in Missouri Baptist University baseball history, the Spartans will play in the NAIA World Series after beating the defending national champion, Tennessee Wesleyan, in a 19-inning marathon on Monday afternoon, 4-3. With their win in the championship game of the Kingsport Bracket, the Spartans will move onto Lewiston, ID., for bracket play from May 24-31. Missouri Baptist’s 19-inning victory was the longest in NAIA National Championship Opening Round history.
Down 3-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Tennessee Wesleyan was down to its final out and mounted a comeback. Missouri Baptist was up 3-1 and looked to be on the verge of winning the game, but Tennessee Wesleyan came back to tie it with two outs and no one on in the bottom of the ninth.
In the top of the 19th, with bases loaded and one out, Garrett Vail hit a sacrifice fly to score what became the game-winning run. Missouri Baptist’s Matt Marsh closed the game out after tossing a season-high six innings in relief.
The Spartans will open play at 9 a.m. on Friday the 24th against Sterling, KS.