Lee, Tennessee Wesleyan win NAIA Tourney openers - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lee, Tennessee Wesleyan win NAIA Tourney openers

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Lee 12, Bacone (Okla.) 1
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Lee) --
 Lee University scored in each of the first five innings and easily passed its first test Thursday in the NAIA Opening Round Tournament with a 12-1 win over Bacone College (Okla.) at Olympic Field.

The Flames (51-8-1) move into the winner's bracket to take on Missouri Baptist University on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET. The winner of Friday's contest will earn a spot in the championship round.

"This is the first part of the process," said Lee head coach Mark Brew. "Friday is the biggest game of the tournament, I think, because it puts you in a place (with a win) where you have to be beaten twice."

Mike Moore opened things up in the first inning, drilling a three-run home run over the left field fence, leading the Flames with four runs batted for the contest on a pair of hits, scoring twice.

Blake Barber and Roberto Reyes each added a pair of hits, combining for three runs batted in, with Barber scoring twice and Reyes scoring three times, including a two-run long ball. All totaled the Flames drilled 11 hits, capitalizing on three Warrior miscues.

"We did a good job offensively, early," added Brew. "Mike (Moore) really got us started with the home runs and the middle of the lineup produced pretty well."

The Flames got a solid pitching performance out of Kris Hall, who moves to 11-0 after working six innings. The junior allowed one run on three hits, striking out nine and walking two.

Ryan Zimmer, Mike Fasolo, and James Rechenbach each worked a single inning of shutout relief, each earning a pair of strikeouts. The Lee defense was solid, as well, supporting the pitching without committing any errors.

Bacone reached the evening matchup with the Flames by beating the No.4-seed Avila University (Mo.), 5-1, in the tournament's first game earlier Thursday.

In game two, Missouri Baptist outslugged Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.), 9-6, as each team drilled 14 hits. Freed-Hardeman will take on Avila in the tournament's first elimination game, Friday at noon, with the winner taking on Bacone at 7 p.m.

Tennessee Wesleyan 3, St. Francis (Ill.) 0
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (TWC) --
 Solid pitching and timely hitting proved to be the keys to success for No. 1 seed Tennessee Wesleyan as it defeated No. 5 seed St. Francis 3-0 Thursday in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.

Starter Corey Rhoney went seven innings and allowed no runs on four hits while striking out eight to improve his record to 9-0. Meanwhile, Corey Collins tossed two shutout frames with two strikeouts to collect his fourth save of the year for the Bulldogs (46-11 overall).

The game was tight throughout, but Tennessee Wesleyan broke the scoreless deadlock with a Drew Levi, two-out, two-run double in the fourth. The Bulldogs tacked on a run in the fifth when Thomas Sicking scored off a double play, making it 3-0.

The Rhoney-Collins pitching duo took care of the rest for Tennessee Wesleyan.

St. Francis (38-16 overall) got a solid pitching performance out of Matt Huck, who went the distance and allowed three earned runs on nine hits and a walk with four strikeouts. However, he suffered the loss to fall to 8-2 on the year.

With the win, Tennessee Wesleyan will face No. 3 seed Indiana Tech in the winners' bracket at 2:30 p.m. Friday. St. Francis will play the winner of the Georgetown/Campbellsville contest at 6 p.m. Friday.

Information provided by Lee University Media Relations (GoLeeFlames.com) and Tennessee Wesleyan Media Relations (TWCBulldogs.com).

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