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KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Martin Lemus blasted the flood gates opened in the top of the eighth and Georgetown College baseball ended its winless streak at Hunter Wright Stadium Friday in the loser's bracket of the Mid-South Conference tournament.
For the third time, No. 19 Tigers (34-16) needed a rally to beat University of the Cumberlands (33-20). They needed five runs in each the eighth and the ninth to seal a 13-7 victory. It was highlighted by a 370-feet grand slam by Lemus to put the Tigers ahead for good. GC added six more runs, making the mountain too high to climb for UC.
"It was a fast ball down the middle," said Lemus about what he saw. "I just wanted to make solid contact. I knew it was gone. I didn't want to make it seem as though I did, but I knew it was gone."
The junior finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and five RBI.
"I didn't want to go home today," he said with a smile.
It was the offensive spark the Tigers needed, tallying seven hits in the final two innings for 10 runs.
"I told our guys to be more aggressive," said GC assistant and hitting coach Adam Skonieczki. "What worried me most about our first game was we were striking out looking a lot. That's not us. We are usually more aggressive at the plate.
"We never know when our bats will come alive, but when they do we usually start rolling and I knew we just needed that spark."
The Patriots have been notorious in the past several weeks for letting leads slip away. They were up 6-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning. Georgetown got one run back then and blew the doors off in its final two at-bats.
UC has held leads in the final three innings 14 times against MSC opponents this season, winning just one of those games. When Cumberlands came to GC for the three-game series, the Tigers trailed in game one and two before rallying for victories in each.
Matt Smith got the start, but after giving up a pair of homeruns to the Patriots was pulled for Shaun Meyer. He went four and a third innings, scattering three hits and allowing one run with two strikeouts and 43 total pitches for the win.
Tanner Baldwin, two , Jordan Hinshaw, three, Justin Moore, two, and Marvin Flores, two, joined Lemus with multiple hits. Ryan Serrato and Hinshaw each got two RBI, while Moore, Hinshaw and Baldwin all scored three runs.
UC used four pitchers with Keith Prowse picking up the loss. Victor Morel, Hibraim Cordova and Blake Bebacher all had two or more hits. Cordova and Debacher had solo shots that seemed to put the final nail in the coffin for Georgetown in the bottom of the fifth.
Georgetown returns to continue to fight to reach the tournament finals with a 10 am game Saturday between the loser of the Cumberland University (38-15-1) and Campbellsville University (29-17) game.