LEWISTON, Idaho – Chris Waters, Junior Rodriguez, and Chris Dubon all hit home runs in the first four innings to help Lee (Tenn.) get the early jump and claim a 5-2 win over Campbellsville (Ky.) in the opening round of the 53rd annual Avista-NAIA World Series at LCSC’s Harris Field on Friday morning (May 22).
Waters hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, his 17th of the season, to continue his torrid hitting in Series play. Last year, when Lee finished second to Lewis-Clark State, Waters hit three home runs in the tournament.
Dubon made it 3-0 in the second inning with a solo home run to left field. It was his eighth home run of the season.
Campbellsville’s Jimmy Voelker countered with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning for his ninth round-tripper of the year to make it 3-1. Campbellsville added a run in the third on a base-loaded walk to Brian Chase, but the Tigers left three stranded in the inning.
Rodriguez led off the fourth with a blast to center field for his 10th home run of the season to give Lee some breathing room.
The Flames final run came in the seventh when a walk, a dropped fly ball and a sacrifice fly by Julian Alvarez made it 5-2.
Flames’ starter Matthew Gilson pitched out of a couple early jams and picked up the win to improve to 11-3 overall. He went 6.2 innings and allowed seven hits, two runs, and four walks, but struck out five. Josh Rose pitched the final 2.1 innings and didn’t allow a hit. He also struck out four to earn his first save of the season.
Cumberland’s Marc Wilson went the distance in the loss to fall to 8-1. He allowed nine hits, four earned runs and one walk. He also struck out seven.
Lee, 51-12, advances to Saturday’s winner bracket play where it will face top seed Lubbock Christian (Texas) at 3 p.m., PST. Cumberland, 40-11, falls into the loser’s bracket and will meet the loser of the Berry-Southern Poly State contest on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in a loser-out contest.
The 10-team double-elimination tournament continues with three games on Friday.