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BASEBALL
Record: 30-25 Home: 18-7 Away: 9-14 Neutral: 3-4 HAAC: 17-15
 
Baseball - Thu, May 4, 2017
11
VS
7
Avila
Graceland University
A.J. Oviedo prepares to swing at a pitch in Thursday's victory over Graceland at US Ballpark in Springfield, Mo. (Photo Credi
A.J. Oviedo prepares to swing at a pitch in Thursday's victory over Graceland at US Ballpark in Springfield, Mo. (Photo Credi

Springfield, MO - The Eagles defeated the Graceland Yellowjackets on Thursday at US Ballpark in Springfield, Mo., 11-7, to advance to the double elmination portion of the Heart Baseball Postseason Championship.

The Eagles (30-23, 1-0 in Tournament) pounded out 14 hits in the victory, getting multi-hit games from five different players to advance past the Yellowjackets (19-34, 0-1 in Tournament, Eliminated) on Thursday.

Tyler Raymond led the Eagles with three hits, with Brandon Chandler, Chase Watt, A.J. Oviedo and Henry Morphew each coming up with two apiece in the 11-7 victory.

Oviedo, Morphew and Danny Kralicek, who made up the bottom of Avila's lineup on Thursday, combined for nine RBIs in the victory, with each player driving in three apiece. The trio knocked had all nine RBIs for the Eagles in the game, with the two other runs coming via Graceland errors.

Oviedo got the scoring started for the Eagles in the second inning, singling home Watt for the 1-0 Avila lead. Morphew followed with an RBI single of his own, bringing home Raymond. Oviedo was thrown out after rounding third too far, but the Eagles would still plate one more run in the frame after Kralicek blasted a triple to the opposite field to score Morphew, giving Avila a 3-0 lead after two innings.

Avila's defense, which struggled mightily with four errors in the game, allowed Graceland right back into the game in the third as the Yellowjackets plated 3 runs of their own to tie the game. Graceland would tack on another run in the fourth inning to take their first lead at 4-3, but that lead would only last until the bottom of the fifth when the Eagles would take control.

Trailing by one, Avila exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of walks by Brandon Chandler and Josh Shewmaker, sandwiched around a Raymond single loaded the bases for Oviedo, who hit a pop fly that was dropped by a Graceland defender, allowing everyone to move up a base and for the Eagles to tie the game. Morphew would give the Eagles the lead for good with a two-run single, and then Kralicek plated another run with a sacrifice fly to give Avila the 7-4 lead. The Eagles would add another run when Graceland's Axl Parra threw a wild pitch, allowing Oviedo to trot home to make it an 8-4 game after five innings.

Graceland plated single runs in the sixth, eighth and ninth, but the Eagles would plate three more runs of their own, including one in the seventh and two more in the eighth to come away with the 11-7 victory. Oviedo provided the big knock in the eighth, a two-run single to put Avila up 11-6 after eight innings.

Gunnar Friend tossed six solid innings for the Eagles to pick up the victory, and Cage Cascone came in to earn the three inning save as the Eagles moved on to the double elimination portion of the tournament.

Friend was dominant over six innings, striking out nine and walking none, but his defense struggled in the field behind him, causing his pitch count to rise. Friend surrendered five runs in the game, but just one was earned.

Cascone pitched well for the Eagles as well, giving up two earned over three innings while striking out three. Cascone, who is normally a starter for the Eagles, could likely come back and start again if the Eagles make it to Saturday.

Avila will now face No. 2 seed Central Methodist at 4 p.m. on Friday at US Ballpark in Springfield, Mo.

Avila was swept by Central Methodist in a four game set earlier this season, though the Eagles are a completely different team than they were early on in the season.

Tyler Burrow will likely earn the start for the Eagles against Central Methodist, who enters ranked No. 15 in the country.

You can follow all of the tournament action live by clicking here: Tournament Central

Box Score: Graceland - 7 vs. Avila - 11

Team123456789 RHE
Graceland (Iowa)003101011 7102
Avila (Mo.)03005012X 11144