ROME, Ga. – Andres Nelo delivered a game-winning three-run home run in the sixth inning to give Lee University baseball a Gulf South Conference doubleheader split. Shorter won 6-3 in the opener and the Flames held on for a 4-3 game two win at Shorter’s Robert H. Ledbetter Baseball Complex.
Lee (20-9, 8-6 GSC) and Shorter (8-19, 5-10 GSC) will battle once again on Sunday. The series finale is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.
“We need to come out and do some positive things early tomorrow,” said Lee head coach Mark Brew. “We scored in the first inning in both games today, but couldn't continue that momentum.”
Lee 4, Shorter 3
Derrick Pitts plated Siosi Poti with an RBI single just three batters into the game. Shorter took advantage of a Lee error to tie the game in the fifth inning with an RBI single from Dyland Riner.
Lee’s at bat in the sixth began with two straight fly outs before Zacary Hawkins and Blake Ray delivered back-to-back singles to set the stage for Nelo’s first home run of the season.
The Hawks closed the gap in the next frame with a two-run shot by Bryan Mathews and threatened again in the seventh. Shorter had runners at first and second with one out when Grayson Bailey relieved Jeremy Bales and induced a game-ending double play.
Nathan Wierzgac tallied two of Lee’s eight hits. Josh Silver and Jordan Stewart also singled in the win.
“Nelo had a huge swing in the sixth with the three-run home run,” said Brew. “He had a very good day battling through at bats in the game. We had several hard-hit balls, but Shorter's center fielder did a great job tracking down some potential doubles.”
Dustin Lawson was tabbed for three runs (two earned), five hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings to earn the win. Lawson (4-1) struck out two Shorter batters.
Bales gave up two hits and walked one in one inning of work. Bailey faced one batter to record his first save of the season.
Justin Machado (1-5) received the loss. He gave up four runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out one in six innings.
Shorter 6, Lee 3
Lee took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Shorter scored the next six runs to carry a 6-1 lead after five innings. The Flames added solo runs in the seventh and eighth innings for the final 6-3 margin.
Pitts was the offensive leader with a 2-for-3 performance, including a double. He walked twice and scored a run. Silver delivered an RBI double and scored once.
The rest of Lee’s eight hits came from Poti, Hawkins, Ray, Nelo and Cameron Scott.
Jeremy Stawychny was the starting and losing pitcher for Lee. Stawychny (4-3) gave up six runs, three hits, walked four and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings.
Carlos Ditren scattered two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings of relief. He walked two and fanned three.
“We gave up way too many free bases to win the game,” admitted Brew. “We did a good job of giving ourselves some opportunities late to score, but we couldn't cash in. Ditren did a good job holding them down on the mound.”
Colton Cross (3-3) was credited with the win after allowing two runs (one earned), five hits, two walks and striking out three in seven innings.
Christian Champion earned his second save of the season after entering in the ninth inning. Champion walked two and struck out one in the inning.
Jacob Forrest was 2-for-4 with three RBI for the Hawks. Mathews doubled, while Riner and Dustin Hays each tallied singles.