Visiting Lincoln Memorial University rode strong relief pitching and timely hitting to a 10-7 victory over host Lee at Larry Carpenter Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. It was the fourth straight victory for the unbeaten Railsplitters and dropped the Flames to 1-3 on the year.
“We aren’t going to win too many games giving up a pair of four-run innings and walking eight guys. It’s just not a recipe for winning baseball,” pointed out Lee head coach Mark Brew. “It is early, but we have to be more competitive in the zone on the mound.
Offensively, we got nice days from (Cam) Suto, (Malachi) Cloud and (Dylan) Standifer. We have to find a way to get clicking together as a team and have more urgency.”
The Flames will regroup and return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host Mars Hill College in a doubleheader. The two teams will meet again on Sunday in a single game scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
Lee sent eight batters to the plate and jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings of play. Noah Hattier started the inning with a single. Standifer and Josiah Miller walked to load the bases. Suto, who finished the day with four hits, drove home two runs with a single and Isaac Quinones followed with a one-base hit to make it a 3-0 game.
LMU took advantage of eight walks during the nine-inning contest. The first two came in the fourth inning when Carson Boles and Andrew Keene received free passes. Boles scored on a single by Kasten Harvey and Keene made it a 3-2 game when Gavin Whitehurst produced an RBI fly out to centerfield.
The Flames increased their lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Cloud homered over the leftfield wall. Hattier picked up a free pass and Standifer singled. Suto continued to swing the hot bat with a one-base knock that scored Hattier.
The Railsplitters were not to be denied and put four big runs on the board and took their first lead of the day at 6-5 in the fifth inning. Collin Goda drove home a run with a triple. Boles had an RBI with a fly-ball out to right. Keene tallied his second run of the game after he singled and scored on a line-drive homerun by Harvey.
Lee tied the game on Standifer’s blast in the bottom of the sixth inning. It was his first homerun of the year. LMU took advantage of four more walks in the seventh inning to help salt the victory away. Keene’s four-bagger drove home two runs to make it a 9-6 game. Ryan Kurth singled, took third after two more Lee free passes and scored on a throwing error by the Lee catcher.
The 10-6 lead was more than the Flames could overcome. They did tally a single run in the bottom of the eighth when Cloud doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a walk. All totaled, Lee outhit the visitors 12-11.
Suto had four hits, including a double and three RBI. Standifer scored twice and homered. Cloud tallied a pair of runs and had his first career homerun. Quinones singled and doubled while Hattier scored twice with one hit.
Lee used eight pitchers and Brycen Jewell was charged with the loss. He gave up three earned runs, allowed two hits and walked three. Colt McKibben was the starting Lee pitcher. He worked three solid innings and gave up a hit. Cameron Land and Sean Casteel followed before Jack Nedrow made his first appearance of the year. The big right-hander was perfect for the one inning he worked. David White pitched an inning and walked two batters while striking out one. Cole Matthaidess gave the Flames a good 1.2 innings. He allowed two hits but no earned runs and did not walk a batter.
The Railsplitter pitching and solid defense made a difference in the contest. After the Flames got to LMU starter LayndonCarter, who worked three innings and allowed six hits and five earned runs while walking four batters, Colin Murphy and David Brian Ellison came for 5.1 strong innings. Murphy allowed five hits and two earned runs while striking out five and Ellison closed the deal with one inning of work in the ninth.