OKLAHOMA CITY - Sterling (Kan.) upended Oklahoma City University 2-1 on Saturday at Jim Wade Stadium in the NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Round Oklahoma City Bracket.
The third-ranked Stars (44-10) face 19th-ranked Lubbock Christian at 11 a.m. Sunday in an elimination game. No. 25-rated Sterling awaits the winner of the early game in the championship 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
OCU needs to win two games Sunday to force the if-necessary game Monday, then win Monday to advance to its fifth consecutive NAIA World Series. Sterling snapped the Stars' 10-game winning streak in NAIA Championship Opening Round play. OCU suffered its first loss in the Opening Round since the format started in 2009.
Sterling rallied for two ninth-inning runs, taking advantage of two OCU errors. Stephen Rodgers led off the inning with a base hit, then Shey Miller reached on an error by OCU pitcher Rich Hawkins.
Joe Williams' sacrifice bunt put Sterling runners on second and third base. Rodgers scored on shortstop Chris Muņoz's miscue to tie game 1-1. Miller scored the winning run on a wild pitch with two out.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead in the third. Chad Carman led off the inning with a single. Brayden Brumley, running for Carman, reached home plate as Sterling pitcher Levi LaBass threw errantly trying to retire Brumley at third on Dane Phillips' grounder.
OCU left nine runners on base as LaBass kept the Stars to an unearned run on six hits and three walks in a nine-inning complete-game effort. LaBass (9-4) struck out five while throwing 119 pitches.
Hawkins, a senior left-hander from Edmond, Okla., worked 8.1 innings and allowed two unearned runs on three hits and a walk. Hawkins (11-2) fanned five.
As of the fifth, Hawkins retired the first 13 batters he faced. Jared Forbush tripled with two out in the inning to break up Hawkins' no-hit bid.
Carman, a senior from Midwest City, Okla., went 2-for-4, while Muņoz, a junior from Hacienda Heights, Calif., was 2-for-4. Jonathan Sigado, a junior from Salem, Ore., went 2-for-4.
NAIA Championship Opening Round
Oklahoma City Bracket
At Jim Wade Stadium
Mount Marty (S.D.) 8, York (Neb.) 7
Sterling (Kan.) 9, Lubbock Christian (Texas) 8
Oklahoma City 12, Mount Marty 3
Lubbock Christian 6, York 2, York eliminated
Sterling 2, Oklahoma City 1
Lubbock Christian 11, Mount Marty 1, Mt. Marty eliminated
Game 7: Lubbock Christian vs. Oklahoma City, 11 a.m.
Game 8: Sterling vs. Winner Game 7, 2:30 p.m., championship
Game 9: If necessary, noon