L.J. Rowden from Soddy-Daisy allowed five hits and no runs in six innings for the pitching win as Bryan College opened its baseball season with a 5-1 defeat of Toccoa Falls on Friday. The teams will play a doubleheader on Bryan's field today. Leadoff batter Grant Zawadzki was 3-for-4 with a double, drove in three runs and stole two bases for the host Lions, while Justin Morhardt hit a solo home run and returning NAIA first-team All-American Tyler Latham had two hits. Kenny Knudsen pitched the last three innings, allowing one hit and an unearned run, for a save; he and Rowden each struck out four batters. Jordan Couillard was 2-for-4 for Toccoa Falls.
• Chattanooga State won the first game of its baseball season Friday by defeating visiting Georgia Perimeter 5-1 behind the complete-game pitching of Tyler Troutt and two hits and five RBIs from shortstop Tyler Hendley. But Perimeter won the second game of the doubleheader 10-0 with five-run innings in the third and sixth. The teams play another doubleheader today but at Perimeter.
• Along with Tennessee Temple playing at Point University and the NAIA's preseason No. 8 team, Tennessee Wesleyan, visiting Auburn-Montgomery, former NAIA power Lee University begins its baseball season today by hosting Emmanuel. They will play a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. and a single game at the same time Sunday. Lee had become a fixture in the NAIA World Series top four, and five of the Flames' 2013 pitchers signed professional contracts. They're in a tough NCAA Division II league now, the Gulf South Conference, but coach Mark Brew still has considerable talent. "I really think we have a chance to once again be a quality pitching staff," he said in a Lee release, citing the likes of senior right-hander Jeremy Stawychny, junior righty Nikolay Uherek from Georgia Perimeter and another righty set for this weekend's series, Dustin Lawson. The defense centers on NAIA Gold Glove winner Josh Silver at shortstop and junior Josh Tate behind the plate, and junior transfers Andres Nelo at second and Siosi Poti in center field provide speed while senior outfielder Derrick Pitts is also a pitcher and an offensive force. "We also have some guys in the middle of the lineup in seniors Zac Hawkins, Cameron Brewster, Jordan Stewart and Blake Ray that are capable run producers in addition to Silver and Pitts," Brew said. "We better be prepared on a daily basis," he added. "We pride ourselves on preparation, but that will be tested to the max this year with all the quality opponents on our schedule."
• Mike Policastro goes into his 21st season as Cleveland State's baseball coach today (in a home doubleheaders against Roane State) counting on a collective good memory and improvement from his Cougars, as they missed the NJCAA Region VII tournament last year by being swept in their last three-game series of the regular season. They wound up 27-20, 13-13 in TCCAA play, and have a solid core of returners, including Dalton Rogers at first base, Evan Speicher at second, Keith Buckhault at third, Jared Davis catching and Zach Janes in the outfield. Left-hander Jake Wright is another sophomore outfielder who also will be in the pitching rotation, along with Josh Morgan, Keegan Frederick and 2013 closer Bobby Towne. Chris Caffrey is back from an injury redshirt to be a designated hitter and corner infielder, and Cameron Strickland from Farragut by way of the University of Tennessee is another starting outfielder. The starting shortstop is freshman Janson Roberson from Clarksville. "He did a tremendous job for us in the fall," Policastro said. Wright Hackett and Chase Shaw also will have outfield duty, and University of Cincinnati transfer Anthony Hunt and Cole Baxley are other catchers with Brock Johnson and Clay Hetland providing infield backup.
• Brittany Ramsey had 30 points and 17 rebounds, including 14 of the latter in the second half, as Cleveland State defeated visiting Motlow 74-69 in TCCAA women's basketball Friday evening. Motlow won the men's matchup 90-78 behind 24 points from DeQuon Miller and 20 from Tre'von James. The Cougars' Keevin Tyus had 26 points and 13 rebounds. Aysia Grimsley scored 13 points and Jara Gasper added 12 plus thrree streals for the Lady Cougars (16-4, 8-4). Briana McDonald led the Lady Bucks (2-15, 1-10) with