Six-run sixth leads Lenoir-Rhyne to win over Brevard

Box Score

BREVARD, N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne used a six-run sixth inning to build a sizable advantage in an eventual 15-4 victory over Brevard in the opening game of a South Atlantic Conference baseball series at Gil Coan Field Friday afternoon.

Freshman Lenoir-Rhyne (20-7, 4-3 SAC) right fielder Justin Dean had a tremendous game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks at the plate, scoring three runs and tallying four RBI, including on a two-run homer in the fourth inning. He also notched a pair of outfield assists, gunning down Tornados (10-18, 1-9 SAC) coming to the plate in both the third and fourth frames.

The Bears led 7-4 heading into the sixth frame after scoring in four of the first five innings, including five runs in the fourth and fifth as the visitors began to pull away after Brevard had twice cut the lead to a single run. Lenoir-Rhyne struck for six runs in the inning to build an insurmountable nine-run lead. The biggest blow came on a two-out double by first baseman David Newcomer that plated three unearned runs.

Kyle Pittman suffered the loss for Brevard, the second straight week Pittman has been undone by a big inning. He pitched 4.2 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits. The junior left-hander was making his second consecutive Friday start after head coach Matt McCay and pitching coach Avery Booker elected to move Hunter Donaldson into the starter role for Saturday’s nine-inning game prior to last weekend’s Tusculum series.

The Bears scored single runs off Pittman in the first two frames to take a modest lead early in the game. Second-baseman Ryan Perkins rolled a 2-2 offering from Pittman up the middle to score the Bears’ first run of the game with two gone in the first inning. Another two-out single up the middle by leadoff hitter Justin Dean doubled the advantage in the second before the Bears broke the game open in the middle innings.

A third-inning RBI single by Ryan Smith plated the Tornados’ first run of the day, scoring Kody Spencer from second before Brennan Allen was thrown out trying to score from first. Smith plated another run with a double down the right field line an inning later, again driving in Spencer before Allen was out on a play at the plate. Spencer had reached safely on a single to left center that plated Christian Dix after he led off the inning with a double.

Dix was responsible for Brevard’s final run of the game in the fifth on an infield single that scored Josh Hall. The center fielder had reached on a walk, then stole second and third bases prior to Dix’s single.

Right-handed sophomore Austin Hancock picked up the win for the Bears. The Lenoir-Rhyne starter allowed four runs on 10 hits in his 5.0 innings of work. A pair of relievers shut down Brevard’s potent offense over the final four innings, combining to allow a single hit while tallying six strikeouts.

The Tornados and Bears will conclude their series with a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch at Gil Coan Field is scheduled for noon.

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