CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Nathan Wierzgac drove a 2-1 pitch to start the 11th inning over the fence in left-center field for his third home run of the year to lead Lee to a walk-off win over Carson-Newman Wednesday afternoon at Olympic Field.
The contest was the first time in 18 meetings that the two programs have needed additional frames Lee (14-5) has won three straight home games against Carson-Newman (8-12).
The last time the Eagles were handed a walk-off loss came on April 12, 2015 when Newbery's Jeff Sneed hit a grand slam to cap a win for the Wolves.
"I don't feel good losing," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "The effort and the attitude was outstanding. We played back to what we do. We put pressure. We played the small game when we needed to. We got big base hits. We played solid defense. We communicated well. There was consistency. Guys that came off of the bench had solid at-bats. You have to look at building blocks. That was a building block for us."
The Flames produced the game's first runs as Jeffrey Chapuran doubled to the gap in right-center field with one out in the bottom of the third inning. The next batter, Jordan Howard, cranked a 1-1 pitch deep over the right-field wall for his second home run of the year to make it a 2-0 contest.
Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) started the top of the fourth inning with a double off of the left-field fence. Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) flew out to right to move Snapp to third and a run-producing ground out to first base by Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) slashed the deficit to one at 2-1.
The Eagles took the lead at 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning. With one out and a 0-1 count to Jones, the senior launched a fastball over the wall in right field for his fifth home run of the season. Lynch reached on an infield single on the next offering and scored on a double to the left-center field gap by Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.).
Lee regained the advantage with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to capture a 5-3 edge. Following a ground out, Mo Foster (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) hit a batter and walked a man to put two out. Foster punched out Jeffrey Chapuran for the second out. The first in a succession of three straight two-out hits was a single through the middle by Howard. Geremy Walton hit a slow roller up the middle three pitches later for an infield single to plate the go-ahead run. Drew Johnson capped the scoring with an RBI double down the left-field line.
The first two batters were retired in the top of the eighth inning. Lynch doubled to right field and Campbell drew a walk. Lee brought in the nation's leader in saves Kit Larson to pitch to pinch-hitter Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.). The redshirt-freshman doubled down the left-field line to score Lynch. On the next pitch, Larson uncorked a passed ball to plate Campbell and tie the game at five.
Carson-Newman stranded a runner on base in eight innings including each of the last five of the game.
Lynch notched his second four-hit day of the season by going 4-for-5 with a run driven in and two runs scored while extending his hitting streak to five games.
Howard was one of three Flames to tally a multi-hit effort going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored while Walton and Meeker each had a pair of knocks.
The Eagles resume South Atlantic Conference action Friday afternoon when Anderson (S.C.) comes to town for a 2 p.m. contest. Broadcast coverage starts at 1:45 p.m. with "The Appalchian Electric Cooperative Countdown to First Pitch" with video and audio streams available on cneagles.com/live courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network.
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