In a game that didn’t see a scoreless inning until the seventh, the Lenoir Oilers ultimately out hit the Statesville Owls to earn the win Sunday, 15-12. The game featured two lead changes, and all starters for both teams had hits except one Oiler.
Lenoir pitcher Jaxon Reid earned the win in his five innings, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out seven and walking two.
Mitchell Keener suffered the loss, allowing six runs on five hits in two innings while recording three strikeouts and five walks.
With a hit and speedy base running, Jeremie Garcia (Montreal College)prompted a quick start for Lenoir. After hitting a double down the third base line, Garcia stole third base before sliding into home on a wild pitch. After Will Jones (Lenoir-Rhyne University) walked and stole second base, Brendan Emery (Mars Hill College) brought Garcia home by hitting a double into center field, giving the Oilers a 2-0 first-inning lead.
Similar to much of the evening, Statesville didn’t take long to respond. After R.J. Conner (Catawba Valley Community College) walked to lead the bottom of the first inning, Ausar Rankin’s (Rockingham Community College) ground ball bounced over second base into center field. Kelsey Weems (Rockingham Community College) then hit a line drive double into left field, scoring both base runners.
In the third inning for Lenoir, Brandon Tamayo (Toccoa Falls College) placed a base hit into right field and beat the throw to second base. After advancing to third base on a wild pitch, Tomayo scored on Garcia’s groundout.
Statesville again responded to Lenoir’s run. Hagan Alberson (Erskine College) drew a walk and ran home from first base after Hunter Dula (Wingate University) doubled into right field. Conner slammed a two-RBI home run over the wall in left field, putting the Owls ahead 6-4.
Lenoir recaptured the lead in the third inning by loading the bases before recording an out. Emery singled to left field. And after Zach Driggers drew a walk, consecutive ground outs brought in two Oiler runs. Tomayo capped the Lenoir rally with an RBI-single to right field giving the Oilers the lead, 7-6.
In inning No. 4, Owl center fielder Ausar Rankin (Rockingham Community College) backpedaled before jumping into the home run wall and making the grab to record the out in attempt to thwart another Oiler rally. But Lenoir refused to cede momentum, with Kilian Daugthry (Carson-Newman College) then drawing a walk and Emery hitting a ground ball single. Lenoir third baseman, Mann, slammed a game-altering home run to left field. After Driggers reached base on an error and stole second, David Kennedy hit an RBI single to right field. Noah Matousek (Morehead State University) completed the Oiler flurry hitting a double to left field bringing in another run and extending the lead to 12-6.
Never short on energy even after falling behind, the Owls made up ground in their half of the inning. After Chase Crouch (Erskine College) hit a base hit to left field, Conner hit an undeniable home run to center field trimming the six-run deficit to four.
With the Owls continuing to pose a threat, Weems led Statesville’s half of the fifth inning hitting a solo home run to left field. Dula hit a two-out single to right field. Behind 0-2 in the count after Crouch walked, Cole Chapman (Catawba Valley Community College) hit a double into right field, bringing the Owls within a run, 12-11.
With the game seemingly shifting toward a home run derby, Mann led the sixth inning for Lenoir hitting a home run just inside the foul pole in left field. Kennedy and Matousek drew consecutive walks, and Tamayo placed a base hit down the third base line giving Lenoir a 14-11 lead.
In the sixth inning for Statesville, Chapman singled, stole second base, and tagged up to reach third base. Weems hit his own base hit into right field, scoring Chapman and bringing the Owls within two.
Jones hit a double into left field to begin the final inning, and Lenoir took its 15-12 lead on Emery’s infield single.
Conner was two-for-three with four RBIs. Weems also tallied four RBIs, going three-for-five at the plate.