CARROLLTON, Ga. - West Georgia baseball won it's third-straight game on Friday evening at Olympic Field in Cleveland, Tennessee, taking down the Lee Flames by a 13-2 count on the back of a powerful offensive performance and a stellar outing from freshman starter Tyler Garner.
The Wolves' offense has been working the whole year, but has been sluggish at times in recent weeks. That was not the case on Friday evening in Cleveland, Tenn., as West Georgia pounded out 16 hits in the first seven innings of the game, netting 13 runs and giving Garner all the support he needed. Garner picked up the start on Friday when Ryan Parker was unable to pitch this weekend due to illness.
Neither team could push a run across in the first inning, but the Wolves struck first in the top of the second inning, as Logan Arnett and Tucker Breen delivered back-to-back singles with one out in the frame. In the next at-bat, Joseph Hill struck out, but Breen stole second on the play. The throw to second sailed into center field, allowing Arnett to come home with the first run of the game.
Garner was strong again in the bottom of the second, allowing his first hit of the weekend, but the Wolves' offense exploded in the top of the third, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs in the frame. Christopher Michals led off the inning and was hit by a pitch, followed by a double from Brian Dansereau. Ben Utley then cleared the bases with his third home run of the year and the Wolves led by a 4-0 score.
Back-to-back one-out singles from Price Peters and Arnett brought up Breen, who walked to load the bases. That was all for the day for Lee starter Jumpei Akanuma, but Joseph Hill was hit by the second pitch from Flames reliever Jay Prior, bringing home the fifth run of the game. Brady Barnes grounded out for an RBI, and Michals then delivered a two-RBI single to make it 8-0. The final run of the frame was the fourth RBI of the inning for Ben Utley, as his single scored Michals and gave the Wolves a commanding 9-0 advantage.
The Wolves added another run in the fourth, then two in the sixth and Cade Marlowe closed out the scoring on the day with a mammoth home run in the top of the seventh. Lee's two runs came off of three of their five total hits on the day in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Garner picked up the win, going the distance in the run-rule seven-inning game. He moves to 5-1 on the year after allowing two runs on five hits, striking out three batters in the contest. Six of the Wolves' nine hitters in the game had at least two hits, led by Utley and Arnett. Utley had the home run and four RBI and scored a run, while Arnett had a double and three runs scored on the day. Hill was 2-for-3 with a run scored and four RBI as well.
West Georgia moves to 25-16 on the year and 12-13 in Gulf South Conference play with the victory. Lee falls to 23-21 overall and 14-10 in GSC action. The Wolves are a half-game ahead of Alabama Huntsville and West Alabama (both 11-13 after play on Friday) for the seventh spot in the conference standings. The top eight teams will advance to the 2018 GSC Championships.
The same two teams will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch for the doubleheader scheduled for 2 p.m. from Olympic Field in Cleveland, Tenn.