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Cougars Rally to Stun Crusaders in NAIA Opening Round

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — The Mount Vernon Nazarene University baseball team (39-18) stunned the Madonna University Crusaders (28-15) in the second day of the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round on Tuesday, May 17.

MVNU erased a 10-run deficit and scored 11 unanswered to complete the comeback over the Crusaders in 10 innings. Trailing 11-1 after four innings, the Cougars began to show signs of life in the top of the fifth. MVNU put four runs on the board, beginning the comeback. Casey Kalman hit a two-run double that scored Toby Walker and Andrew Miller, Devin Pearl hit an RBI single that drove home Jake Glover, and Kalman trotted home from third after a throwing error to first.

After picking up another run in the seventh, the Cougars used some postseason magic in the ninth to tie the game. The five-run inning began with a Zackary Hoop sac-fly that scored Pearl. With two outs now on the board and the bases loaded, A. Miller got hit by a pitch, bringing in a run. Trailing by just three now, Glover cleared the bases with a three-run double that scored A. Miller, Walker, and Blaine Keener. Cruz McFadden shut down the Crusader lineup in the bottom of the inning, sending the game into extras.

MVNU capped off the amazing comeback with a Keener RBI double that scored Hogan Heck. With a 12-11 lead in the bottom of the 10th, MVNU relied on the top closer in the NAIA to finish the ballgame. McFadden did just that, securing the victory for MVNU. McFadden pitched three innings and picked up the win on the mound. He allowed just one hit and had three strikeouts. Maxwell Donawa also gave MVNU good innings on the mound. The freshman pitched 3.2 innings of relief before giving way to McFadden. Donawa allowed three hits, zero runs, and had four strikeouts.

What’s Next

With the win, MVNU will now play on Wednesday, May 18 against the University of the Cumberlands at 11:00am. The winner of that game will meet No.1 Tennessee Wesleyan University for an opportunity to play in the Kingsport Bracket Championship game.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 31 states and 22 countries/U.S. territories.

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