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Blake Bean
Blake Bean went three-for-five batting with two runs scored.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Falls Short of Upset Against Tampa

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team saved its best fight of the weekend for last, but came up just short in a 5-4 defeat to top ranked Tampa on Sunday.

After losing two games in wire-to-wire fashion, the Bears looked strong at start with a three-run first inning. Tyler McPeak crushed a two-run home run in the frame to get his eighth-straight home run that drove in multiple runs.

With the Bears scoring an additional run in the top of the third inning, LR garnered a 4-0 lead, however, the Spartans started to turn the tides with a three-run fourth.

Tampa’s Mike Valdez, who recorded an RBI triple in the third, belted a solo home run in the seventh to give the Spartans their first lead of the game at 5-4.

With today’s defeat, LR ends its longest road trip of the season with nine consecutive contests away from Durham Field. The Bears will be happy to return to Hickory after losing six of their last nine.

Blake Bean, who hit fifth in the order, led the Bears with a three-hit performance. Cole Stanford, who had a RBI on Saturday, registered a RBI single in the first inning.

LR out-hit Tampa for the first time in the series; the Bears recorded 10 hits compared to Tampa’s eight. In Kobie Cushing’s one inning on the mound, the junior struck out three batters and allowed only one walk. The Bears missed out some opportunities throughout the contest as they stranded 12 runners on the base paths

After sweeping the weekend series, Tampa remains unbeaten to LR, owning a 7-0 all-time series record. This marks the first time the Bears have been swept in a weekend series since April 21-22, 2023, when LR lost three games to Newberry.

LR has lost six road games in 2024. In the 2023 season, LR lost only five true road contests. After five-straight non-conference games on the road, four of the final five non-conference contests will take place in Hickory, N.C.

In five games against ranked opponents, LR has a 1-4 record with the lone win coming against No. 2 North Greenville on Feb. 27.

The Bears are 14-10 overall and are 4-5 in the South Atlantic Conference. Lenoir-Rhyne will make its return to Durham Field for a non-conference matchup against St. Michael’s (VT) on Thursday. LR outscored St. Michael’s (VT), 33-2, in their two meetings in 2023. First Pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.