HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A three-run rally in the top of the ninth inning helped the third-ranked Lee baseball Flames avoid a three-game sweep by host William Carey in the SSAC weekend series.
After dropping the Saturday opener 4-2, the Flames cut the Crusader second-game lead to 4-2 in the eighth... Derrick Pitts doubled and was pushed across the dish by a groundout by Chris Avey to put Lee within striking distance.
The three-run ninth was one to be remembered. Danny Canela doubled home Brady Renner and Cameron Brewster to deadlock the thriller at four. Corey Davis, who was pinch running for Canela later scored on a wild pitch and gave the Flames (20-5, 9-3) their first lead of the game in the 5-4 victory. Renner had started the inning with a walk and Brewster doubled to put the comeback rally in high gear.
Andy Hillis sealed the deal in the bottom of the ninth. The big right-hander worked the final 2 1/3 innings and allowed just one hit, one earned run, walked two and fanned one. Hillis picked up his first win of the year. Clint Terry started and gave the Flames six good innings. He scattered five hits, allowed two earned runs, did not walk a Crusader and struck out seven. Alex Moore came in during the seventh and hurled two-thirds of an inning.
William Carey (18-7, 10-2) jumped on top in the first 1-0, but Lee came back to tie in the third when Josh Silver singled and later scored on Karsten Strieby's RBI hit. The Crusaders push back in front 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh. Three walks, two errors and a double opened the scoring gates and forced Lee into the dramatic ninth-inning uprising.
Canela had a pair of doubles in the win and Strieby continued his solid hitting with a pair of knocks. Derrick Pitts also enjoyed a good day with a double and a single.
"At this point and time we will take the win," said coach Mark Brew. "We got outplayed for 24 innings this weekend, but found a way in the last inning to scratch out a win and avoid the sweep. William Carey deserves a lot of credit as they played great all weekend, but we had to have that last game and I am glad we found a way. Danny Canela swung it well all weekend and Cameron Brewster did an excellent job. Terry was really good today and Hillis was great and gave us a chance to rally in the ninth."
Three runs in the bottom of the first inning and a single run in the fourth was all William Carey pitchers Cullen Babin and Josh Wood needed to close out the Flames 4-2. Babin worked six innings. He gave up seven hits and fanned five. Wood pitched his way out of a jam in the seventh to pick up the save.
Lee outhit the Crusaders 9-6. The Flames went on top 1-0 in the first when Renner singled and later scored on a sac fly by Strieby. The final Lee tally came in the seventh. Canela and Strieby singled and punch runner Trevor Burgess crossed home on a sac fly by Pitts, who was 3-for-3 in the loss.
Jose Samayoa was the starter and loser for Lee. He pitched the first 3 2/3 innings and gave up five hits, four earned runs, walked four and recorded three strike outs. Jeremy Stawychny finished the day. In 2 1/3 innings, he gave up just one hit and no earned runs. He fanned one Crusader.
The Flames will return to action on Tuesday and face a good Lindsey Wilson in a single nine-inning game slated for a 4 p.m. start.
A third-inning defensive lapse put the Flames in a hole it couldn’t climb out of in Friday’s SSAC series opener.
Host William Carey took advantage of Lee's two errors, a passed ball, a wild pitch and proceeded to score six runs with two outs in the third frame in pinning an 8-2 defeat on the Flames. In the nine-inning affair, Lee was guilty of four costly errors.
Coach Brew was a man of very few words after the loss." It was a disappointing day," he said. "We struggled offensively and defensively all day. If we don't improve our competitiveness and mental toughness tomorrow we are in for another long day."
The Crusaders got a complete game from pitcher Jake Fabre (3-2). He scattered seven hits, struck out 14 Lee hitters and walked just one.
The Flames sent five hurlers to the mound. Myles Smith (4-2) started and was lifted when Lee struggled on defense in the third. All totaled he allowed four hits, no earned runs, walked two and fanned two.
Keegan Yuhl, CJ Lusted, David Eskew, Jeremy Bales and Ryan Zimmer also pitched in the loss. Yuhl had three solid innings. In three innings, he gave up one earned run, surrendered two hits, send four WCU batters down on strikes, but walked three.
Lee's only two runs came in the seventh inning. Karsten Strieby doubled and scored on a two-base knock by Derrick Pitts. Later in the inning Cameron Brewster plated Pitts on a sacrifice fly to left. Strieby was the only Flame with two hits. Brandon Rader, Brady Renner, Danny Canela and Brewster each singled.
The Crusaders got two hits from Mitch Bohon and Clint Ambrosch. Vito Perna doubled for WCU's only extra base hit, while Perna, Scott Fabre, Alex Lahasky and Tre Keyes each batted in a run.