Hungry West Georgia pounded out 13 hits and pitcher Tyler Gardner (5-1) gave the Wolves seven innings of five-hit ball in a convincing 13-2 victory over Lee in Gulf South Conference play at Olympic Field on Friday evening.
"It is certainly not the start we wanted to the weekend series. We got behind early and we have to get better starting pitching moving forward. Give West Georgia all the credit. They were certainly the aggressor and kept us on our heels all evening," said Lee's disappointed skipper Mark Brew.
The Wolves battling Alabama Huntsville and West Alabama for a seventh or eighth spot in the upcoming GSC tournament, took the Flames completely out of the seven-inning contest by scoring eight runs on just four hits in the top of the third inning.
Ben Utley set the pace in the third by drilling a three-run homer.
Price Peters and Logan Arnett singled in the frame while Christopher Michaels doubled to drive home a pair of runs. The Flames helped the Wolves cause by walking two batters and hitting another before the long inning ended.
Utley finished with three hits and drove in four runs. Michaels had two hits, scored two runs and drove home two. Every player with the exception of one had hits for the winners who improved to 25-16 overall and 12-13 in GSC play. The Flames dropped to 23-21 and 14-10.
The Flames scored their only two runs in the fifth inning. Thomas Zazzaro and Fernando Ortiz started the rally with singles and Tyler Payne ripped a double that plated both Zazzaro and Ortiz. Payne finished the evening with a pair of doubles while Peyton Meeker had Lee's other hit.
Jumpei Akanuma (4-4) was the starting and losing Lee hurler. He gave up seven hits and six earned runs. Jay Prior, Lance Hamilton, Joe Parete, Andrew Franklin and Davis Gurosky also took their turn on the hump for the Flames.
"Tomorrow is a new day and we need to get some early momentum," remarked Brew as he started to get his team ready for the final two games of the important series but also prepare for the huge Military Appreciation Day event.
The ceremonies will honor the area military veterans and will get underway at 1 p.m. "We have changed things up a little this year," noted Brew. "We believe having the special ceremony before the first game begins at 2 p.m. will allow our older veterans the opportunity to enjoy the event and have the option of staying for the doubleheader."