Flames overcome five-run deficit to edge Eagles

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman's defense allowed Lee to tie the score in the eighth and Peyton Meeker hit a two-out solo home run to left field to propel the Flames to a 10-9 comeback victory over the Eagles Tuesday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

"What a two days," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "You go from euphoria yesterday. Then you got to this where it's a crushing blow. It's kind of a microcosm of life. You have these highs and you have lows. It's how you handle it.

"They are hanging around long enough. Now they are getting closer but you still feel like you are in control. That's the game of baseball and it changed quickly. Credit to them for staying in it. Their pitchers that came in relief did a nice job stranding some runners."

It is the first win for Lee (4-8) at Mossy Creek a 16-9 decision on April 3, 2006 after Carson-Newman (7-4) had won back-to-back home outings against the Flames. It's the sixth one-run outing of the year as C-N is now 2-4 in such outings.

Two-out hitting allowed Lee to plate two runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Payne reached to start the stanza on a bunt single up the third base line. He moved to third base after a sacrifice bunt and a ground out. Miguel Pimentel crushed a double off of the fence in left-center field to score Payne. Chase Gaddau followed by trickling a ball back up the middle for a base hit to score Pimentel.

Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Va.) drilled a base hit into right field to start the C-N half of the first frame. He stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. After a ground out, Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) tucked a double inside of the third base bag for a double to score Langhorne and cut the deficit in half at 2-1.

Griffin's group sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom of the third inning scoring six times to put C-N ahead 7-2. Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) crushed a double off of the fence in left-center field to score Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) to open the scoring. Two batters later, Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) cranked his first career long ball with a home run over the center field fence.

Two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases for pinch hitter Jose Quintana (Miami, Fla.). The junior dribbled the first pitch back up the middle to score a pair. A ground out to second from Langhorne capped the scoring in the third.

An RBI ground out from Spencer Mossburg put Lee back on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Snapp responded in the bottom half of the frame with his second rountripper of the season, crushing a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right-center to make it an 8-3 affair.

With two outs and nobody on in the top of the fifth, Jordan Howard drove a 0-2 pitch to center field that evaded the outstretched glove of Thompson and cleared the fence for a home run to make it 8-4.

Lee continued the comeback effort in the top of the sixth as Spencer Mossburg drove a 0-2 pitch towards Mossy Creek over the left-field wall for a two-run blast to cut it to 8-6.

The last time C-N scored came in the bottom of the sixth as Cal Smith (Panola, Texas) slapped a double down the left-field line with two outs to push the margin to three at 9-6.

In the top of the eighth inning, back-to-back strikeouts opened the frame. Meeker was hit by a pitch and Mossburg singled to left. Ryan Beamish hit a ground ball to second baseman Dom Leo (Knoxville, Tenn.) that went right past the glove and trickled to the warning track to score a pair. Two pitches later a wild pitch went to the backstop to score the game's tying run.

Ryan Victory (Brentwood, Tenn.) retired the first two men of the top of the ninth. On a 1-1 delivery, Meeker got a haning breaking ball and crushed it over the 20-foot wall in left to put the Flames on top for the first time since the third.

Back-to-back one-out pinch-hit singles from Kilian Daughtry (Simpsonville, N.C.) and John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) put the winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth. A fielder's choice and a strikeout of Leo sealed the final tally.

Lee used 10 pitchers on the afternoon as Joe Parete (1-2) tossed a scoreless eighth for the win while Thomas Zazzaro picked up his first save of the year. Zazzaro also had a pair of hits after starting the game at third base.

Snapp and Thompson each had two hits and two RBIs as the Eagles led the hit tally 13-12 while Quintana notched his first-career multi-RBI effort with two.

Meeker went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Mossburg finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

Carson-Newman opens South Atlantic Conference play over the weekend with a three-game series at Newberry starting Friday evening at 6 p.m.

- CN -

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