HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Chris Evans went 5-for-10 with two runs scored and Jesse Kearns hit his sixth home run of the season, but Park University was unable to overcome 23 Bruin runs on 24 hits, as Bellevue won the NAIA Region IV baseball championship by scores of 16-7 and 9-4 in Hutchinson, Kan.
Park (29-18) closes its season one win shy of tying a school record, while Bellevue notched its 50th win of the year to move to 50-13, qualifying for the Great Plains Super Regional at either Northwestern or Jamestown, who are playing for the Region III title.
The Bruins got on the board early, jumping out to a 3-0 lead with a single run in the first and two more in the third, but Park got to within one a half inning later when Ryan Fawks and Nick Kouratou had RBIs to make it 3-2.
Bellevue had an answer, though, scoring five in the bottom of the fourth to go up 8-2, and in the top of the fifth, Pete Peters had an RBI double followed by a Ryan Weedin RBI ground out to get back to within 8-4.
The Bruins again answered, getting five more in the bottom of the fifth, thanks in-part to Matt Anderson's grand-slam home run to go up 13-4, and Bellevue held the lead until the top of the seventh, when Weedin and Brett Gordon reached base to bring up Kearns.
Kearns lifted a fly ball to left, clearing both the fence and the trees behind it to make it 13-7, but Bellevue managed to add three more in the bottom of the eighth, sealing the 16-7 win. Kouratou was 2-for-5 in the opener for the Pirates, while Kearns led the team with three RBIs.
In game two, Bellevue's Nick Damas went 6-for-6 with five singles and a homer to pace the Bruins, taking an early 4-0 lead with one in the first and three more in the second on a wild pitch and two bases-loaded walks.
Chris Luera had an RBI double in the second to pull P ark to within three runs, and in the third, Evans scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2. The Bruins again answered the mark with a run in the top of the fourth, followed by a Luera triple to lead off the Pirate fourth, later coming home to make it 5-3 on Brandon Skelton's RBI ground-out.
Both teams scored in the sixth, keeping Bellevue ahead 6-4, and the Bruins delivered the dagger in the seventh, getting two runs on Dave Powell's RBI infield single and a throwing error from the mound by Dustin Laird.
Bellevue added its last run in the ninth when Shawn Lee scored on Powell's RBI single through the hole at first.
Brad Lewandowski took the loss in game two for the Pirates, while Vince Ortega drew the defeat in game one, as Bellevue got pitching wins from Ulysses Roque (game two) and Nick Love in game one. Fawks finished 3-for-5 in the second game while Luera was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.