With several major league scouts huddled closely on a cold evening at Olympic Field, right-handed pitcher Myles Smith displayed the form they came to see as he fanned 11 and retired 13 straight Southern Polytechnic State University hitters over seven innings.
The Flames improved to 21-7 and more importantly moved to 13-3 in Southern States Athletic Conference play with a convincing 16-1 win over the 20-7, 9-4 Hornets.
Smith (6-2) got the only run he needed in the bottom of the first inning when Brady Renner reached on a single. Josh Silver put down a sacrifice bunt and Renner scored on a throwing error by the Southern Poly shortstop.
In his most impressive showing of the year, Smith scattered three hits over the seven innings and did not walk a Hornet hitter. The only run he allowed was unearned. Alex Moore came on to hurl the final two innings and did not surrender a hit, while fanning two.
Lee put three more runs on the board in the third inning and sent nine batters to the plate. Corey Davis was hit by a pitch. Brandon Rader, who finished the evening with a double and two singles, stroked a two-bagger to score Davis. Mark Silva followed with another ringing double that scored Rader. Silver pushed the final run of the inning across the dish when he stroked the first of his three hits.
Two more runs in the sixth increased the margin to 6-1 as Renner and Silver banged out back-to-back one-base knocks. Karsten Strieby collected an RBI with a sacrifice fly and Silver scored on an error by the Hornet shortstop.
Fifteen Lee hitters waltzed to the plate in the seventh inning and 10 runners scored before Southern Poly finally recorded the third out. Rader had a pair of singles and scored twice in the frame. Silva had a double, a single and scored twice. Sliver collected two RBIs with a single and Chris Avey capped off the huge inning with a three-run homer over the right-field wall.
“Myles (Smith) was excellent this evening,” said coach Mark Brew. “We never discussed the 10-run mercy rule before the game started. I don’t think either coach ever thought the game would go like this. Southern Poly has a good team and I’m sure they will come right back at us tomorrow.”
Brew also noted that Smith stayed ahead of the Hornet hitters during his seven innings of work. “He showed the type of dominating pitcher he can be. It was also good to see our hitters do the job up and down the lineup. Our seventh, eighth and ninth (place) batters had nine hits and scored seven runs. We are a tough team to beat when those guys hit like that”
Brew also singled out the hitting of Silver who accounted for six tallies with four RBIs and two runs scored. “We need that kind of performance from Josh. He did the job at the plate and in the field.” Silver teamed with second baseman Silva to turn a pair of double plays.
Southern Poly’s only run came in the third inning when Josue Quinones singled, took second on an error, third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Trey Malone.
Darin Wiltgen was the starting and losing Southern Poly hurler. In 4 1/3 innings, he allowed four hits, three earned runs, walked five and fanned one. Four other Hornet pitchers went to the mound before the long night ended.
Today’s doubleheader is scheduled to get under way at 1 p.m. Brew said Jose Samayoa would work in the opener while Clint Terry would hurl the final nine-inning affair.