CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Lee) -- Lee University moved within one win of another trip to Lewiston, Idaho and the NAIA College World Series by downing Madonna University (Mich.) 9-2 in the NAIA National Tournament on Friday afternoon.
Avila will play Madonna at 2:00 on Saturday and that winner will need to defeat Lee twice to advance to the World Series. The Flames are slated to play at 6 p.m.
"We are right where we wanted to be, but we can't be over confident," said coach Mark Brew after Friday's win over a Madonna team that had beaten the Flames, 4-3 back in March. "We are hitting the ball up and down the line-up and we probably should have scored more than nine runs with the 18 hits we got today."
When Lee scores first Brew's 48-10 and third-ranked Flames usually win. They moved out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning with four straight singles by Corey Davis, Karsten Strieby, Brandon Rader and Cameron Brewster, who posted one RBI and Mark Silva drove how the other run with a fielder's choice.
Madonna rallied for a single tally in the third on a double by Alex Charles and a RBI single by Brad Lineberry. Lee waited no time in moving out to a 4-1 margin in the third. Danny Canela had one-base knock and Davis ripped a double. Strieby and Brewster followed with RBI hits.
The Flames ended any hopes of a Crusader comeback in the fourth by pouring on four more runs and claiming an 8-2 lead. Brady Renner doubled to begin the rally. Josh Silver stroked a RBI single. Derrick Pitts reached on an error and Canela immediately followed with an RBI hit. Strieby seals the deal with a hit that pushed the final two runs of the inning across the dish. The final score can in the seventh when Rader singled and scored on Renner's second double of the day.
Canela and Strieby had three hits apiece to pace the Lee attack. Strieby also drove in three runs. Davis collected a double and single and scored. Silver had his usual two hits. Rader and Brewster also posted a pair of hits.
"Our guys had a good approach at the plate," noted Brew. "The Madonna pitcher (Jeremy Gooding) beat us earlier in the season, but our guys took a lot of his pitches to right field today and it paid off." Brew went on to praise the hitting approach of three of his top hitters, Canela, Davis and Strieby. "But we hit well up and down the line-up today and we are a hard team to beat when we do that."
Lee used five pitchers that limited Madonna to just five hits. Jose Samayoa (10-1) got the victory. He hurled five innings of four-hit ball, fanning seven and walking two.
Tennessee Wesleyan rallies for 6-5 win
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AAC) - A late rally propelled top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan to a 6-5 victory over No. 3 seed Missouri Baptist Friday to keep the Bulldogs as the lone undefeated team remaining in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket.
Tennessee Wesleyan (45-16 overall) advances to Saturday's championship game where it awaits its opponent. The game is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. first pitch.
Meanwhile, Missouri Baptist (32-12 overall) remains alive and will face the winner of the game between No. 4 seed Taylor (Ind.) and No. 5 seed Benedictine-Springfield (Ill.) on Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner of that game will face Tennessee Wesleyan for the berth to the AVISTIA-NAIA World Series.
The Spartans proved to be worthy adversaries as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to take a 5-2 at the end of seven innings. Down 2-1, Missouri Baptist rallied for three runs in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. Joe Stropp put the Spartans up 3-2 with a two-run double and later scored on a sac fly to make it a two-run game. In the seventh, Joseph Taylor homered to make it a 5-2 contest.
Tennessee Wesleyan bounced back, scoring four runs in the top of the eighth to grab a one-run advantage. With the bases loaded and one out, Logan Stone lofted a sac fly to push across the first run. Brackton Smith then singled to cut the margin to 5-4, and Josh McCray followed with another run-scoring single to even things up. Brad Carpenter capped the rally with a single up the middle, sending the Bulldogs ahead 6-5.
Missouri Baptist collected a hit in the bottom of the eighth but failed to score. Noah Piard then set down the Spartans in order in the ninth to lock up the 6-5 win and his 18th save of the year.
McCray led Tennessee Wesleyan at the plate in going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Tyler Wilson picked up the win, tossing one inning in relief to improve to 3-3.
Patrick Johnson went 3-for-5 for Missouri Baptist with a run scored, and Matt Marsh suffered the loss, dropping his record to 2-3.
Information provided by Lee University Sports Media Relations and Appalachian Athletic Conference Media Relations.
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