BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The Union baseball team had it chances, but the Bulldogs couldn't quite break through as visiting No. 3 Lee (Tenn.) left with the 5-3 decision.
The loss leaves Union's record at 4-4 on the year, while Lee is now 12-2 overall.
The Bulldogs got a solid pitching performance out of Justin King (Barbourville, Ky.), who tossed the final 5 1/3 innings and allowed no runs on six hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Offensively, Vance Sullivan (Verona, Ky.) went 2-for-4 for Union with Miguel Mendez (Lansing, Mich.) going 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Lee never trailed and led from the second inning on. While Union was always within striking distance, the Bulldogs could never pull even.
The Flames scored two in the second off a Karsten Strieby two-run blast and tacked on two more in the third. Lee scratched out another run in the fourth for a 5-2 cushion. Strieby finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
In the sixth, Mendez led off with a single up the middle and moved over to third on a stolen base and wild pitch. Jared Tomany (Bryant, Wis.) followed with a groundout to short to knock Mendez in, making it a 5-3 contest.
It remained a two-run margin as the game moved into the bottom of the ninth. WIth runners on first and second with one out, the Bulldogs seemed primed for a comeback rally with Gabby Juarbe (San Juan, Puerto Rico) at the plate, Yet, it was not meant to be. Juarbe lofted what initially appeared to be an extra-base hit into the right-center field gap, but right fielder Corey Davis raced over to make the catch. The runners were running on the play and were easy to force out for the final out of the game.
Juarbe finished the game 1-for-4 with a RBI and two stolen bases. Nelson Price (Burkesville, Ky.) suffered the loss, allowing four earned runs on three hits and five walks with one strikeout in three innings of work. He is now 1-1 on the year.
Jeremy Stawychny got the win to improve to 1-0, while Andy Hillis collected his first save of the year.
By the Numbers
- The Bulldogs stole four more bases, giving them 29 on the season in eight games.
- Only four players for Lee collected hits with three having two and the other three.
- Tyler Brake (Burlington, Ky.) played a great defensive game with 10 putouts and three assists on the day, even starting and turning a rare 3-3-6 double play.
- Lee leads the series now with a 4-2 record.
Union will next play a four-game series with Concordia (Mich.) on Saturday and Sunday. The doubleheaders will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday.