Big innings by the Lee University Flames doom the Bears. After three scoreless innings the Flame’s bats came alive. It was two effective bunts that started the rally as Chris Grayson and Michael Brown reached without getting the ball out of the infield. Roberto Reyes pulled a line shot for a double down the third base line scoring Grayson. Brown made it to third in a close play putting runners on second and third with no one out. Justin Marrero followed with an RBI single, scoring Brown. With three across, Lee suddenly had a 2-0 lead with runners on the corners and no outs. Travis Anderson picked up an RBI on a 63 fielder’s choice. Marrero was then the beneficiary of two wild pitches to push the Lee lead to 4-0.
The next two innings the Bears gave themselves chances to climb back into the game. Phillip Butler led off the fourth with a single and Gesick followed with a walk. A potential double play was averted with second baseman Marrero’s throw to first was wide, allowing pinch runner Quentin Everman to score and get the Bears on the board. However, that would be the end of the rally as Lee’s pitcher Shay Crawford was able to retire Zac Alexander and Aaron Suydam.
Bears’ pitcher Cory Pallutch worked out of a jam in the fifth and the Bears came to bat down 4-1. Sauls led off the inning with a line shot over the shortstop’s head. Crawford was able to retire the next two Bears before issuing a two out walk to Coleman bringing up Butler. This proved to be the critical at bat of the game. Butler made great contact driving the ball that Lee’s leftfielder Seth Walker made a racing over the head catch at the warning track.
Lee had another big inning in the sixth. A throwing error by Morrison allowed Preston Scoggins to reach. A fielder’s choice on Walker’s at bat, got Scoggins out at second. A bunt sacrifice by Jonathan Clark advanced Walker to second. Joe Ramiriz reached on a fielding error by SSU’s second baseman Aaron Suydam, which allowed Walker to score on the play. Grayson followed with a single through the middle and Brown was hit by a pitch. Reyes put the dagger in the Bears as he hit a grand slam, extending the Flames’ lead to 9-1.
Lee added another insurance run in the seventh to tally the final score 10-1.
Pallutch was tagged with the loss and falls to 7-3 on the mound. He pitched 5.2 innings allowing nine runs (four earned) on 12 hits. Will Middleton relieved Pallutch and worked 2.1 innings allowing one run on three hits while striking out one. Jordan Williams pitched the final inning and allowed one hit and struck out one.
Crawford got the win to improve to 10-2 on the season. He worked the entire game allowing one run (unearned) on four hits. He walked seven batters, while striking out 12 Bears.
Shawnee State goes to the loser’s bracket and faces the winner of the Missouri Baptist and Indiana Tech game.