Top-ranked Flames bounce back to win SSAC series
by From Lee Sports Information
Apr 14, 2013 | 1001 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LEE UNIVERSITY catcher Danny Canela, right, unloads on a throw to first as pitcher Myles Smith (12) peels off during Friday’s action at Olympic Field. The top-ranked Flames took 2-of-3 games from visiting Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) in the Southern States Athletic Conference series. Lee University photo
LEE UNIVERSITY catcher Danny Canela, right, unloads on a throw to first as pitcher Myles Smith (12) peels off during Friday’s action at Olympic Field. The top-ranked Flames took 2-of-3 games from visiting Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) in the Southern States Athletic Conference series. Lee University photo
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After dropping a 4-2 decision to visiting Southern Wesleyan on Friday night, top-ranked Lee University dodged a bullet in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader and then went on to coast to a solid victory in the nightcap to win the Southern States Athletic Conference series.

The Flames will return to non-conference action on Tuesday and face Bryan College in Dayton at 6 p.m. They will return to Olympic Field on Wednesday and host Tennessee Temple in a single nine-inning contest.

FLAMES 3, WARRIORS 2

The Flames (36-9, 20-4) appeared to be in deep trouble in Saturday's opening game as the Warriors (16-27, 7-17) struck for two runs in the first inning, then left-handed pitcher Tim O'Callaghan held the Lee hitters at bay until the bottom of the fifth inning when his defense let the crafty hurler down.

The Flames scored three runs in the inning on two hits and took advantage of three big SWU errors.

The rally started with two outs when Mark Silva reached on an error. Cameron Brewster made the Warriors pay with a double down the right-field line. The ball was bobbled by the right-fielder and Silva made it a 2-1 game. Brandon Rader followed with a single that scored Brewster, and the contest was deadlocked. The final, and what turned out to be the winning run, came on a error off the bat of Brady Renner and allowed Rader to score.

"We were fortunate to be able to overcome the pitching of O'Callaghan," said coach Mark Brew. "For the second straight game, Southern Wesleyan had out-played us at that point but the breaks came our way and we were able to capitalize."

The Flames made the best of only four hits off O'Callaghan, who pitched 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked five.

Jose Samayoa (9-1) picked up the win for the Flames. He hurled five innings and allowed six hits and two earned runs. The right-hander struck out six and walked three. David Eskew and Andy Hillis came on and each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Hillis picked up the save, his seventh of the year.

Rader was the only Flame with two hits. Thomas Floyd had and JJ Julian had two hits apiece for the losers.

FLAMES 11, WARRIORS 1 (8)

The final game of the three-game series was an entirely different story. The Flames rode a 13-hit attack and seven solid innings of pitching from Keegan Yuhl to the 11-1 run-rule victory over the Warriors.

Coach Brew called it the best pitching effort of the year by Yuhl.

"He had command of his breaking ball and that was something that (Myles) Smith and (Jose) Samayoa did not have," Brew said.

Yuhl allowed only four hits, striking out seven and issuing two free passes. Alex Moore came on to pitch the eighth.

The Flames got off to a quick start in the first inning when Brady Renner singled and later scored on the first of three hits by Derrick Pitts. A solo home run in the third by Josh Silver made it a 2-0 game.

Lee blew the contest wide open in the fourth when Pitts ripped a double to the base of the wall in centerfield. Roberto Duran drilled a double to left-center that scored Pitts and Corey Davis stroked a single that pushed Duran across the plate. The final run of the inning came on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Silva that scored Davis.

Three more runs were posted in the sixth inning, and it was Silver who delivered the key blow, knocking in two runs with a single. He finished the day with three RBI. The margin reached 9-0 in the seventh when Mike Fasolo got a one-base knock and later scored on Davis' second RBI hit of the day.

The game ended in the eighth inning when Silva started the two-run rally with a hit. A pair of walks loaded the bases, and Jordan Stewart collected an infield hit and an RBI. Pitts climaxed an outstanding day with a rope down the right-field line that the SWU outfielder did not even give chase. Renner tallied the game-ending score.

"We had a much better approach at the plate in the final game, and it paid off," said Brew. "I think our guys understand that on any given night a team can beat you, and we can't afford to let our guard down."

While Yuhl improved to 3-0 on the year, Matt Arant (1-2) was the losing SWU pitcher. Southern Wesleyan did not have a hitter with more than one hit, and Joe Taylor collected the Warriors' only RBI.

WARRIORS 4, FLAMES 2

Friday night's loss to Southern Wesleyan left coach Brew scratching his head and wondering why his team was not ready to face the Warriors in the opener of a three-game SSAC series.

Left-handed pitcher Matt Craig pitched a complete nine-inning game and gave up only two earned runs in SWU's 4-2 victory over the NAIA's No. 1-ranked team. Craig scattered eight hits while striking out four and walking only one hitter as he improved to 5-3 on the year.

On the other hand, it was not one of the better performances for Lee ace hurler Myles Smith (8-3). The right-hander worked 6 1/3 innings. He allowed four hits, three earned runs, walked six and struck out three.

"Myles just couldn't get his breaking pitch over for strikes tonight," noted Brew. "We were able to work our way out of several jams or the final score could have been worse. Southern Wesleyan just out-played us tonight and I don't have answers for why we didn't compete better."

The visiting Warriors scored in the top of the first inning. After two outs were recorded, Matt Arant walked and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a RBI single by Thomas Floyd. The Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Jili Lara reached on an error and advanced to third on a single by Wendell Ray. Lara scored on a balk.

Southern Wesleyan sent seven batters to the plate in the seventh inning. JJ Julian walked. Michael Hyman doubled to place runners at second and third. Arant walked for the third time in the game and then the Warriors ironically sent two runners across home plate when Lee hurlers hit back-to-back batters with the bases jammed.

The Flames finally got on the board against Craig in the eighth inning. Danny Canela doubled and scored on Karsten Strieby's single. The Flames threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Robert Duran singled and Brandon Rader doubled to drive home Duran. Brady Renner was hit by a pitch but back-to-back ground-outs ended the Lee comeback.

The Flames had four extra-base hits in the loss. Canela had a single to go with his double. Strieby had a two-base knock to go along with an RBI one-base hit. Duran also had a pair of hits, while Jordan Stewart doubled in the second.

Hyman doubled and singled for the winners and Floyd was the only other Warrior with a two-hit game.

The Flames used four hurlers in the loss. Jeremy Stawychny came on for 1 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and no earned runs. Andy Hillis pitched 1/3 of an inning and recorded a strike-out, while Kyle Briner got the final two outs and did not allow a hit.