Four Lee pitchers fanned 15 Campbellsville University batters and the Flames pounded out nine hits in posting their 12th victory of the season on a cold Tuesday evening at Olympic Field.
Lefty Ryan Zimmer made his first collegiate start, while Carlos Ditren, Grayson Bailey and Jeremy Bales combined to hurl five innings of perfect baseball as the Flames scored a convincing 9-2 victory over the Tigers.
Zimmer toed the rubber for the first four innings. He allowed four hits, two unearned runs, struck out five and walked one. Ditren baffled Campbellsville for the next three innings. He struck out five of the nine batters he faced. Bailey and Bales worked the final two innings. Bailey struck out all three batters he faced and Bales closed things out with two strikeouts. None of the relievers allowed a hit, run or walk.
“Once again our pitching was excellent tonight,” said coach Mark Brew after his Flames improved to 12-5 on the year. “Zimmer did a great job in his first collegiate start, and Ditren was lights out in the bullpen.”
The Flames gave the pitching staff all the support they needed by scoring five runs in the second inning. Josh Tate started the rally with a single. With two outs, the Tigers made a pitching change, and an unusual series of events began to unfold. Three straight Lee batters, Blake Ray, Siosi Poti and Zack Zyburt were hit by pitches from Blake Bottoms.
With one run in, Josh Silver reached on an error that scored both Poti and Ray. Cameron Brewster walked and Derrick Pitts stroked a double down the right-field line that pushed Silver and Zyburt across the plate. When the smoke had cleared, the Flames had scored five runs on just two hits.
The Tigers threatened a comeback in the third inning and cut the margin to 5-2, but Zimmer was able to work his way out of the jam and then followed by hurling a solid fourth inning.
Lee added a single run in the sixth when Zac Hawkins singled. Ray blasted his fourth double of the year to the left-centerfield gap. Zyburt picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly to center.
The contest was put completely out of reach with three more runs in the seventh. Jordan Stewart reached on a throwing error and Tate followed with his second single of the night. Hawkins ripped his seventh double of the season to right-center and posted a pair of RBIs when Tate and Stewart scored.
“We swung the bats much better than we have recently and I thought Zac (Hawkins) had a super day at the plate,” said Brew. “Campbellsville is a quality club and we need to keep our focus tomorrow as we try to wrap up the series.” Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Hawkins finished with three hits and also scored twice. Tate tallied two runs after stroking his two hits, while Pitts banged out his fifth double of the season and picked up two RBIs. Carlos Torres had two hits and two RBIs for the losers.
Ditren (2-0) was credited with the pitching victory, while Alex Kline, who pitched only 1 1/3 innings, was charged with the defeat. Three other Campbellsville pitchers followed Kline to the mound, and Alex Watson hurled a solid 4 1/3 innings for the Tigers.