CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Lee University) -- For the second time in a week, Lee University got the best of visiting Tennessee Wesleyan, pinning a 10-5 defeat on the Bulldogs in Tuesday's battle of two teams ranked in the top six of the NAIA's latest national poll.
Blake Barber led the 11-hit attack for Lee, going 4-for-5 with a double, triple, and three runs batted in.
The third-ranked Flames started hot in the contest, scoring in each of the first four innings. Tennessee Wesleyan, now ranked No.6 in the NAIA, scored a single run in the third, and rallied back into the game, scoring four in the sixth to run the score to 7-5 in favor of Lee.
Roberto Reyes delivered yet another clutch hit in the eighth inning, drilling a three-run home run over the left-centerfield wall to put the game out of reach.
"The ball off the bat of Reyes was big, maybe as good as the grand slam versus Southern Poly (walk-off win on Apr. 6)," said Lee head coach Mark Brew. "It was a good overall battle for our guys, (Tennessee Wesleyan is) no question one of the top five or 10 teams in the country."
Freshman Kyle Briner had his first career start for Lee, going four strong innings, allowing one run on four hits. Briner struck out four without walking a batter. Jose Samayoa (7-0) came on to work the final five innings, surrendering the four run sixth, all of the runs earned, and six hits total.
"Jose (Samayoa) had one rocky inning, but bounced back, and I thought Kyle Briner did a good job. We were very limited in our bullpen but Jose did the job, he wasn't great but he was good enough," added Brew.
Mike Moore and Trevor Burgess contributed two hits each, with Moore drilling a double, a home run and scoring twice. Jorge Saez reached on all four plate appearances, drilling one hit and walking three times. Either Saez or pinch runner Max Harvell scored on all four trips to the bases.
For Tennessee Wesleyan (34-10), Levi Dean started on the mound, working 3 2/3 innings. Dean allowed seven runs, all earned, on six hits. Travis Burnside and Jake Stone each had two of the Bulldogs' 10 hits, with Stephen Branca and Taylor Oldham leading the way with two RBI each, Oldham's coming on a two-run home run.
With the win, the Flames take 2-of-3 games from the Bulldogs in the season series, moving to 43-8-1 overall. The Bulldogs took the first contest, 8-7, back on Feb. 15 in Athens, Tenn., with the Flames taking last week's game, 9-6.
Tuesday was the final regular season home game for the Flames, as they will close Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) play at Belhaven University (Miss.), this coming weekend. Lee currently sits one game behind Faulkner University (Ala.) for the top spot in the SSAC.
"It's a big weekend for us, with a chance to win a conference regular season championship. The problem we have is (Belhaven) plays very well at home," warned Brew. "We have to do at least one game better than Faulkner." No.5 Faulkner will host a three-game set against No.15 Shorter.
Following the completion of the regular season, the Flames will head to Columbus, Ga., Apr. 26-May 1, for the SSAC Tournament. It was announced earlier this week that Lee will host an NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round (May 10-14) bracket for the fourth consecutive season. The Flames have won the bracket each of the last three seasons.
Information provided by Lee University Media Relations and GoLeeFlames.com.