Baseball splits doubleheader against Lee

Senior second baseman Chris Blakey tosses to first base against Lee March 12 at Mike Lane Field. Blakey and the Lions split with the Flames to open the series and will play the rubber match March 13 at 2 p.m. to decide the series winner.

The North Alabama baseball team split the first two games of its series with the Lee Flames Sunday, winning the opening game 3-2 and falling in the nightcap 6-3. The rubber match takes place March 13 at 2 p.m. at Mike Lane Field.

With the opening win, UNA now sits atop the Gulf South Conference standings with an 8-3 record in conference play while holding a 13-7 overall record.

In Game One, the Lions and Flames were scoreless until the bottom of the eight inning. Junior catcher Logan Carter broke the tie by knocking a two-run double into left-center field, giving UNA a 2-0 advantage.

“It was a fastball up and in,” Carter said. “My approach when I come up is if somebody is on second (base), I’m trying to get a single to score him, and then I’m at first base with (Kyle Hubbuch) up to bat. I’m just trying to get on base for Hubbuch.”

The Lions added a run on a wild pitch to stretch the lead to 3-0 before advancing to the ninth. Lee scored two runs in the final inning, but it would not be enough as UNA held on for the low-scoring victory.

The Lions rode a strong start from junior ace Tyler Joyner (6-0). The junior tossed 8.2 innings for the near complete game, finishing with five hits and two late runs in the final inning. Joyner also sat down 10 batters and gave up one walk in his sixth win of the season. 

Head coach Mike Keehn said he was pleased with Joyner’s performance in the pitching duel.

“Joyner was pitching really well,” Keehn said. “You look at the numbers at the two guys pitching today, and that indicated it would be a (low-scoring game) when you have two guys pitching really well. I thought Tyler’s stuff was as good as I’ve seen all year, so that first win is a good win for us.”

Game Two started well for the Lions when Hubbuch blasted a solo home run in the second inning for the early lead. Carter later singled in two runs to give UNA an early 3-0 lead.

Lee later scored four runs off two solo home runs, a sac fly and a passed ball to gain the 4-3 lead. Lee scored two runs in the seventh and final inning to earn the doubleheader split.