LEWISTON, Idaho - Oklahoma City University will meet Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at 9 p.m. CDT May 25 in the NAIA World Series.
The third-ranked Stars advanced to the program's 14th World Series after capturing their fourth consecutive NAIA Baseball Championship Opening-Round Tournament on Monday.
Denney Crabaugh has posted a 1,183-362-2 record in 23 years as OCU coach, directing OCU to 12 NAIA World Series trips. Crabaugh has built the nation's winningest program since 1991.
"We talked at the very first meeting in August and told the team if you're not here to help the next guy get to Lewiston, you're in the wrong room," Crabaugh said. "That's been our mantra."
The Stars will be the third seed. Sixth-seeded Lewis-Clark State (40-12) holds the No. 10 ranking. Lewis-Clark State has 16 national titles for the most in NAIA baseball. Lewis-Clark State and OCU meet for the third time in four years in the Stars' first game of the World Series. Alfonso Casillas tops the Warriors with 10 homers and 62 RBIs while batting .372.
OCU catcher Chad Carman and second baseman Brian Fisher will make their fifth trip to the NAIA World Series with the Stars. Carman, a senior from Midwest City, Okla., and Fisher, a senior from Spring, Texas, join Matt Sharp and Kirk Walker as Stars who have played in four World Series. Carman and Fisher redshirted with OCU's 2008 club.
Carman and Fisher join seniors Miguel Beltran, Rich Hawkins and Allen Townsend as veterans from OCU's 2011 World Series team. Beltran, Carman, Fisher and Hawkins typically hold spots in the Stars starting lineup.
"I call them the Four Horsemen," Crabaugh said. "From a leadership aspect, they've responded."
OCU needed to beat 25th-ranked Sterling (Kan.) on Monday to gain its World Series berth. Sterling had defeated OCU 2-1 on Saturday to put the Stars into the losers bracket.
The Stars responded with three consecutive shutouts against two of the NAIA's top teams in batting average. Cody Crabaugh pitched the first of those three.
"We made it really hard on ourselves," Denney Crabaugh said. "I'm proud as a father of Cody's performance. That's who I wanted on that mound. He set the tone. Who wants to give up runs after he did that? Credit (OCU pitching coach) Garrett Parker. He's kept them focused."
OCU owns a 2.66 team earned run average to rank among the top five nationally.
"We're not saving our bullets," Crabaugh said. "We have guys who I would put out on the mound in a heartbeat. We're going to have so many choices in the pitching staff. They're going to help us stay in ballgames, and when we swing the bats, anything can happen."
The Stars also lead the NAIA in home runs per game (1.57), doubles per game (2.54) and slugging percentage (.597). Beltran tops college baseball with 25 homers.
"I feel like we're ready to come out to play," Beltran said. "We have to stay positive. We need to stay positive and hungry."
Carman said of assistant coach Keith Lytle, "We have the best hitting coach in the nation."
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Game 16: TBD, 5 p.m.