Tigers battle hard, fall in first rund to Bruins
The Lewisburg Tigers made their first trip to the TSSAA State Tournament since 2003 on Tuesday and battled the consensus favorite University School of Jackson Bruins (38-5) tooth and nail before finally falling 4-2.
Seth Lintz, making his third start in less than ten days pitched a complete game, giving all he had in allowing four runs on six hits, while walking four in his first loss of the 2007 season.
The Bruins had one big inning that cost the Tigers a chance to move on in the winner's bracket portion of the tournament. With the loss, the Tigers drop to the loser's bracket and an early Wednesday morning match-up versus the Marion County Warriors (31-15), who defeated Marshall County 3-1 in a 2006 regular season match-up.
Nance lifts Tigers to early lead
Both starting pitchers started strong in the contest as Clayton Gant struck out the side in the first for the Bruins and Lintz forced a double play grounder to Justin McQueen that ended the home half of the inning
Cody Primm led off the second with a sharp single to center field, was sacrificed to second by Seth Lintz, and scored on a blistering double to right center by senior Seth Nance to make it 1-0.
Lintz retired the Bruins 1-2-3 in the second and the Tigers threatened in the third, getting their first two runners on base before Gant escaped the jam with a rare 1-5-3 double play.
Lintz gave up a single in the second, but the runner was erased on an attempted steal as Justin McQueen made a great dig and tag on a laser from catcher Jake Lintz.
Primm led off the fourth with a double down the right field line, but was stranded as Gant retired the next three Tigers in order.
Bruin lead-off hitter Josh Liles walked to start the fourth, Danny Grimm singled, and then both runners advanced on a double steal to put the Tigers in trouble.
Gant helped his own cause with a one out double to center that scored both runners and gave USJ a 2-1 lead. John Wills singled to left to put runners on the corners and an infield single by Will Glen drove home the third run of the inning.
Lintz escaped a huge inning by getting another 6-3 double play to retire the side.
The Tigers got two more runners on in the top of the fifth but could not push across a run. The Bruins added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly RBI by Lyles to make it 4-1.
Liles came out of the bullpen for the Bruins in the top of the sixth, retired the first batter and then gave up a long home run to right field to Seth Lintz to cut the margin to 4-2.
Lintz retired the Bruins with ease in the bottom of the inning and Marshall County came up in the top of the seventh. Cory Searls led off with a singled to right, but Liles retire the next three Tigers to win the ballgame.
Bruin's Head Coach Brad Dyer was happy after the game, but knew he had escaped a tough ballgame when he said," This was a big game; the first one is always the toughest in the tournament. That team over there (Marshall County) played hard and all that I found out about them was true."
"I think we may see them again," Dyer added.