Lee outlasts Tusculum in 14-10 marathon

Lee outlasts Tusculum in 14-10 marathon

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Lee University baseball team jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held off several Tusculum University rallies as the Flames outslugged the Pioneers 14-10 in a non-conference game Tuesday night at Pioneer Park. 

The nine-inning contest took four hours and 26 minutes to complete as the teams combined for 24 runs, 24 hits, seven errors, 15 walks while utilizing 13 pitchers.

Lee (21-22) has won four of its last five games while completing the season sweep over Tusculum (27-19).

The Flames got three-hit performances from Alan Smith and Keyshaun Smith, while Fernando Ortiz tallied a pair of hits in the victory. Keyshaun Smith came a single shy of hitting for the cycle as he posted a double, a triple and a home run.

Tusculum out-hit Lee by a 13-11 margin as the Pioneers were led by Nate Montgomery's 4-for-6 performance which included five RBI including a three-run homer, his third of the season.  TU's Daulton Martin posted a 4-for-5 performance while scoring four runs and was hit by a pitch.

Seven Tusculum pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts including a career-high nine from reliever Carter Linton in his 3.2 innings on the mound.

Lee scored four times in the second inning and twice in the third on Keyshaun Smith's two-run homer to left.  TU trimmed the deficit in half with a three-run frame in the bottom of the third, highlighted by RBI singles from Bryson Ford and Trey Hinton as the Pioneers trailed 6-3.  Tusculum added another run in the bottom of the fourth as Wes Reynolds reached on a lead-off error, stole second and scored on Martin's RBI single to make it a 6-4 contest.

The Flames made it a 10-4 game scoring four times in the sixth thanks to one hit, three walks and a costly TU error.

Tusculum drew back to within three at 10-7 thanks to Montgomery's three-run homer to left field with Zack Finchum and Martin aboard.

Lee tacked on two runs in the eighth inning thanks to Keyshaun Smith's RBI triple and Cody Smith's two-out single to make it 12-7.

The Pioneers got the two runs back in the bottom of the frame as the first four batters reached base.  Martin and Ford opened with back-to-back single and Montgomery posted his third hit of the game with his RBI single to put runners at first and third with no outs.  Hinton drew his third walk of the game to load the bases.  Reliever David Pattinson took over on the mound and got an infield pop-up for the first out and a fielder's choice with the force out coming at third base.  An error on the play put runners at second and third, but Pattinson ended the inning with a strikeout to preserve the 12-9 lead.

Lee added two more runs in the ninth for a 14-9 lead.  In the bottom of the inning, three TU batters all reached base with two outs including Montgomery as he drove in his fifth run of the game with his base hit.  But a fly out ended the marathon game for both teams.

Andrew Franklin (1-0) picked up the win in relief while TU starter Sean McDaniel (1-1) suffered the loss.

Tusculum will close out the regular season this weekend when they host Lenoir-Rhyne University for a South Atlantic Conference series beginning with Friday's 6 p.m. contest at Pioneer Park.