WARNER ROBINS -- Opportunity knocked early and often offensively for Tennessee on Saturday.
The problem was, no one could seemingly unlock the door.
After stranding four runners -- including three in scoring position -- in the first two innings, a combination of players keyed a third-inning rally and Tennessee never looked back, defeating West Virginia 6-0 in Pool A play at the Little League Baseball Southeastern Regional Tournament.
We finally caught some breaks, Tennessee manager Joey Hale said. We hit a few gappers. You have to find some holes to get runs.
Brock Myers reached on an infield single and scored Tennessees first run on third baseman Luke Browns triple. Jason Browns single drove in Luke Brown before Ryan Lyle reached on a fielders choice. Stephen Snyder came on to pinch run for Lyle, and Jonathan Seals reached on a hit before both were plated by catcher Phillip Carters double for a 4-0 lead.
Luke Brown went 3-for-4, while Carter finished 2-for-2.
West Virginia (0-2) had trouble ending innings. Five of Tennessees six runs were scored with two outs.
Tennessee starting pitcher Jacob Rucker earned the victory, throwing 64 pitches. He struck out five, walked none and allowed four hits in 5-1/3 innings. It was the second consecutive strong outing for Tennessees pitching staff.
We work really hard with our rotation, Hale said. They say defense wins championships. Well, in baseball, that starts on the mound.
West Virginias Nathanael Thompson picked up the loss. He allowed seven hits, with a strikeout and a walk, in 2-2/3 innings.
Tennessee (1-1) added to its lead in the sixth inning on shortstop Brock Myers two-run home run. Myers went 2-for-3.
We missed a sign, West Virginia manager Carl Hoskinson said. We threw him a fastball instead of a curve ball, and we paid for it.
West Virginia, which managed just four hits in the game, has the least depth of any team in the tournament with just 10 players on the roster.
Shortstop David Akers was hit by a pitch in the lower right leg in the sixth inning and left the game. Hoskinson said Akers suffered a deep bruise and he expects him to return for the teams next game Monday against Virginia.