March 26, 2006
DeLand, Fla. _ Comebacks are becoming a way of life for the Lipscomb Bisons baseball team.
For the second game in a row the Bisons rallied for a 10-8 win over Stetson. Sunday afternoon at Melching Field. A home run by Ryan Mitchell gave the Bisons a victory. The Bisons won the series 2-1, the second week in a row they have swept a series against an Atlantic Sun team. It is the first time since the Bisons joined the A-Sun that they have won back-to-back A-Sun series.
"Everything we did was a nail biting situation," said Lipscomb coach Wynn Fletcher. "It is going to be that way all year long. If you win two-out-of-three games against an A-Sun team you need to enjoy it and then go right back to work."
Winning a series at Stetson was particularly sweet for the Bisons since Melching Field is one of the toughest venues in the conference for visitors.
"It is tough to win there," said Fletcher. "They have a great crowd." Mitchell's home run Sunday to lead off the ninth was possibly the biggest one of the series. The Bisons added another run when Whit Reed drove home Caleb Joseph with a single. The Bisons opened up a 6-1 lead and led 8-4 in the eighth before Stetson tied the game game with four runs sparked by a three-run home run by Braedyn Pruitt.
"That was a big shot for us, especially after giving up four runs in the eighth," said Fletcher. "In baseball the highs are so high and the lows are so low. That home run was like a breath of fresh air for us."
The Hatters opened the ninth inning with a base runner, but Logan Powell retired the final three batters for the Bisons.
More important than the two wins in the series was the way the Bisons worked to get them. Nathan Sensing, Mitchell and Reed each had three hits for the Bisons who finished with 12 against four Stetson pitchers. "All year there have been two or three guys in the line-up doing it all," said Fletcher. "We won 12 games doing things that way. We had guys with the capabilities to produce but they weren't.
"In this series we had production from a lot of guys. David Becker hits a home run. Tadd Brewer gets a couple of hits Sunday after struggling in the first couple of games. Ryan Price, Ryan Mitchell and Caleb Joseph all had big games. We keep wondering what will happen when we have a series where everybody is doing a good job."
Josh Smith started for the Bisons, allowing five hits and four runs, one earned, over five innings. He walked five and struck out three.
Robby Smithson pitched 2.1 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, all earned. Shane Toole pitched two-thirds of an inning and picked up his first win of the season. Powell earned his first save of the season closing out the ninth inning with a scoreless effort.
"It is not easy for a pitcher to go down there," said Fletcher. "They are that good of a team. Chris Johnson is one of the top five hitters in the in the country.
"You are not going to get the pitching you expect there. There were a few home runs given up, but we did what we had to do to win."
The Bisons jumped out to a 4-0 lead as Brewer and O'Rourke opened the game by reaching base on back-to-back errors by the shortstop. Sensing was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mitchell singled to center field to score Brewer and O'Rourke. Miller hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Sensing. Reed doubled down the left field line to score Mitchell.
In the second inning Brewer opened with double to left field. He advanced to third on a throwing error by the second baseman which also allowed him to score. Sensing then hit a solo home run to left field.
In the seventh O'Rourke singled to right. Sensing singled to center. Mitchell singled to right. Joseph walked to bring home Sensing. Price put down a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher to score Mitchell.
"We have a determined group of seniors," said Fletcher. `They push hard. They are ready.
"They showed early on that they could make comebacks, but they didn't always win. But we are getting better pitching now. Everyday I tell them to go out and be the same guys. That is what we are doing."
The Bisons are 11-10, 4-4 in the A-Sun. Stetson fell to 12-14, 3-6 in the conference. It was third straight time Stetson has lost an A-Sun series this season.