Lee falls, Tennessee Wesleyan advances in NAIA Tournament
Missouri Baptist 5, Lee University 4
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Lee University) -- Scott Krutel delivered a go-ahead three-run double in the seventh inning to lift third-seeded Missouri Baptist to a 5-4 win over host Lee on day two of the NAIA Opening Round Tournament at Olympic Field on Friday.
The loss drops the top-seeded Flames into the loser's bracket for an elimination game at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday against fourth-seeded Aliva. The winner will then have to beat Missouri Baptist twice to advance to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
"There's a lot of character in our dugout, a lot of guys with a lot of passion and a lot of heart, I think they'll bounce back, I think they'll play hard, obviously we just don't have any give to play with now," said Lee head coach Mark Brew. "This is still no different than a normal weekend series for us, we get a day off, other than that it's the same. We're going to have to play a doubleheader tomorrow to have a chance, and then come back on Monday.
"We're hoping now there is baseball in Cleveland, Tenn. on Monday."
The Flames started quickly, scoring a single run in the first on a Spartans' error before Edmanuel Rivera and Cameron Brewster collected back-to-back two-out run-scoring hits in the second for a 3-0 lead.
Krutel helped Missouri Baptist rally, following Ryan Barban's RBI single with one of his own in a two-run third.
Krutel then delivered the game's biggest blow with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh.
"(Missouri Baptist) got that big hit with two outs and the bases loaded, and that's your difference in the game," said Brew. "They swing the bats, I thought our pitching was good enough to win the game but we didn't get the big hit when we needed to, and we couldn't get off the field when we needed to."
Lee (51-9-1) registered just four hits in the contest.
"We hit the ball hard but didn't have a lot to show for it," said Brew. "They played deep on us and everything we hit they flagged down."
Patrick Merkling (8-2) started and was charged with five runs, three of them earned, on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven while walking just one. Joe Fabre entered with the bases loaded and retired one batter, before surrendering the double to Krutel, the lone hit in his two-thirds of an inning. Jose Samayoa retired the Spartans in order in his one inning.
For Missouri Baptist (39-14), David Williams moves to 5-0, working seven innings and allowing three hits and all four of the Flames runs, three of them earned. Ben Dorman worked two innings to earn his third save of the season.
Tennessee Wesleyan 11, Indiana Tech 5
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (TWC) -- Top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan steadily built a comfortable lead and coasted to an 11-5 victory over No. 3 seed Indiana Tech Friday to advance to the championship game of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket.
Tennessee Wesleyan (47-11 overall) is the lone undefeated team remaining and awaits to see who it will face to play for the right to advance to the 2012 AVISTA-NAIA World Series. The championship game is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Indiana Tech (40-21 overall) will play the winner of the Campbellsville (Ky.)/St. Francis (Ill.) contest Saturday at 11 a.m. in the losers' bracket finale.
The Bulldogs scored at least one run during the first five innings in building an 11-1 cushion. Tennessee Wesleyan delivered the big blow in the fifth as it pushed six runs across in the frame.
Indiana Tech scratched out a run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a nine-run game before making things interesting with a three-run eighth to pull within 11-5. But that was as close as the Warriors could get as the Bulldogs held on for the six-run decision.
Anthony Boix finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored for Tennessee Wesleyan, while Stephen Branca went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Taylor Oldham and Jordan Guida also had two RBIs apiece.
Josh Culler collected the win to improve to 9-2 on the season.
For Indiana Tech, Brandon Paletta set the tone with a 3-for-5, one-RBI performance. Tyler Snoke took the loss to drop to 8-2.
Information provided by Lee University Media Relations (GoLeeFlames.com) and Tennessee Wesleyan Media Relations (TWCBulldogs.com).