Saturday afternoon an eighth inning solo home run over the right field fence by M.L. Williams proved to be the game-winner in a 7-6 win over Stetson in Atlantic Sun Conference play at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
The Bisons and Stetson close out the series Sunday afternoon at 1. Right-hander Josh Smith, 2-0, 3.46 ERA, will be on the mound for the Bisons.
“It was one of those back-and-forth games,” said Bisons coach Jeff Forehand. “M.L. is not a home run guy.”
In some ways it was a case of redemption for Williams who made errors in the third and eighth innings.
“M.L. didn’t let a bad play get to him,” said Forehand. “He is learning every day about playing the game in the field.”
Williams’ home run capped a three-hit day, a season-high and his first multiple-hit game of the season. His three RBI were also a team high and tied for the game high.
It was Williams’ season-high for RBI in a game and his fourth multiple-RBI game of the season. He also has a four-game hitting streak.
“It was basically a perfect pitch,” said Williams of his home run. “I am more of a get on base style of player.”
Justin Sanders has hits in his last nine games, his second nine-game hitting streak of the season. Ryan Wilkins, Tennyson Dodd and Branden Cadavid all have five-game hitting streaks.
Catcher Logan Hostettler hit his first double of the season as he joined Wilkins and Dodd in getting two hits. Antonio Butler tied Williams for the team lead in hits with three.
The Bisons had 15 hits, the sixth straight game they have had 10 or more hits. They are averaging 13 hits a game during this stretch.
The Bisons opened with one run in the first as Sanders, Dodd and Cadavid all singled with two outs. Cadavid brought in Sanders.
In the second the Bisons extended the lead to 3-0 with two runs.
Stetson responded with five runs in the third to take a 5-3 lead.
The Bisons chipped away with one run in the fourth and two in the fifth to tie the game, setting the stage for the home run by Williams.
Senior right-hander Brandon McClurg started for the Bisons, pitching 6.2 innings. He gave up eight hits and six runs, only one of them earned. He struck out five and walked one in a hard luck effort.
Junior right-hander Matt Bowling relieved McClurg in the seventh. Bowling allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one in 1.1 innings. Bowling picked up his first win of the season.
The first batter Bowling faced was Jeremy Cruz, one of the best players in the conference. Bowling struck Cruz out swinging to end the seventh inning.
“I can’t say enough about Matt Bowling,” said Forehand. “He came in and got Cruz with a fastball.
“We need somebody who can come in and pitch, if needed, in the seventh and eighth innings. Matt might be our guy. He is getting grittier. One of the things we have been telling him is that he can go all out with his fastball.”
It was a rough day for Cruz who had two home runs stolen by Bisons outfielders. Left field Tyler Wilson hauled one back in over the fence in the fifth inning and Antonio Butler did the same thing in right field in ninth to end the game.
Senior right-hander Kyle Tognazzini, the Bisons stopper pitched the ninth. He shut down Stetson on one hit and one walk for his fifth save.
The Bisons moved back to 10-10 overall, 7-1 in the A-Sun. Stetson slipped to 8-14, 2-3 in the conference.