All totaled, Lee blasted 19 hits against six Eagle pitchers and that was plenty enough for hurlers Clint Terry (10-1), Mike Guinane, Kyle Briner and David Eskew. Eskew, a fifth-year senior who was struck in the face by a batted ball last season, came on to pitch the ninth inning and thrilled his teammates by striking out three hitters.
“Going back to the World Series for the sixth straight time is just incredible,” said coach Mark Brew after his Flames improved to 49-10 on the year and will be seeded no lower than No. 2 when the Lewiston series begins. “We have felt good about our pitching ever since last fall but our hitters have come on since the opening round of the conference tournament and that has taken a lot of pressure off our pitching staff.”
The Flames pretty well sealed the deal in the opening inning. Brady Renner was hit by a pitch. Corey Davis ripped a double and Canela sent a long drive over the 375 mark in right-center field to put the Flames up 3-0. The hitting assault continued in the second inning as Cameron Brewster and Mark Silva lined base hits and Renner dropped down a perfect bunt to load the bases.
Davis, who finished with four hits, drilled his second double of the contest to plate Brewster and Silva. Canela followed with his fourth RBI hit of the night and the Flames were in complete command.
Ten batters ended any hope for the visiting Missouri squad in the fourth inning. Brewster got things started with a walk then Renner and Josh Silver singled to load the bases. Davis continued to grab the spotlight with another RBI hit and Karsten Strieby plated two more runners with a one-base knock to push the margin to 12-0.
Single runs followed in the fifth and sixth. Renner collected his third hit, a ringing double. Silver added another one-base hit and Davis collected his third RBI of the night with another single. In the sixth, pinch-hitter Trevor Burgess doubled and crossed the plate on a two-base knock by Brandon Rader.
Davis and Renner’s four hits were best for the Flames and Canela posted four RBIs. Silver, who leads the team in hitting, hit safely three times and Rader posted a pair of hits and knocked in two runs. Renner and Davis also scored three times and Brewster tallied twice.
“Canela is an emotional leader of this club,” said coach Brew. “His home run in the first really set the tone for the victory but all our guys have been hitting the baseball well since the opening round of the SSAC tournament. I just hope we can keep it up in Lewiston.”
Terry pitched five innings and allowed three hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. Guinane hurled a solid two innings and struck out three while surrendering one hit. Briner struck out two in the eighth before Eskew sent three Eagle hitters back to the dugout with strikeouts in the ninth.
“I think this team is really focused as we head to Lewiston,” noted Brew. “We have taken some talented teams to the World Series before, but overall this team has more depth and probably more overall talent. We will be counting on players who have made this trip before to help supply leadership when we arrive in Lewiston.”