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Cole Stanford
Cole Stanford went two-for-five with a run scored and two RBI.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Opens Season With Win Against Flagler

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team drove in six of its seven runs via home runs to defeat Flagler, 7-2.

For three consecutive innings, the Bears went yard into the Florida night, starting with Cole Stanford who blasted a two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning.

In his first LR appearance, Owen Blackledge got his second hit of the night by crushing a ball down the right field line in the sixth inning, which gave the Bears a four-run lead. Then in the seventh, Tyler McPeak, the team’s leader in home runs from 2023, solidified the Friday night victory with a two-run home run of his own.

Sal Carricato, who was selected as a Preseason All-SAC First Team member a week ago, gets credit for the first hit and home run of the season for the Bears with a solo shot in the first inning.

In a day full of firsts, Joshua Lanham became the first pitcher at Lenoir-Rhyne to surpass 300 career strikeouts with an eight-strikeout day. The redshirt senior picked up the victory with six innings pitched and allowed only six hits and one earned run.

LR had four batters record multi-hit days. Blake Bean, Bryce Stober, Stanford, and Blackledge each collected two hits for the Bears. In relief, Gavin Marley delivered two no-hit innings. The redshirt sophomore struck out three opposing batters out of the eight he faced. The LR lineup consisted of seven regular starters from the 2023 season. The only two players to get their first LR starts were Miller St. John and Blackledge. The Bears played superb defense by committing zero errors. LR had 17 games in 2023 where there were no defensive errors. Both sides missed out on opportunities with runners on base. The two programs combined for 26 left on base as Flagler left 15 on, while LR left 11 stranded.

This result marks the first time that LR has defeated Flagler. The only previous meeting when LR and Flagler clashed was in 1999, when the Saints swept the Bears in a two-game series. This marks the first time LR has won a game in Florida since March 26, 2017, when LR defeated Rollins, 7-6. The Bears have now won three-straight road openers. They defeated Auburn University-Montgomery in 2023 and Emmanuel (Ga.) in 2022. With its four home runs today, this would have been a top five single-game home run performance in 2023.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team will have its first doubleheader of the 2024 season against Flagler on Saturday, Feb. 3. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m. followed by a second game around 4:30 p.m. Both games will be nine-inning contests.