The Bisons won the first game 5-4 and took the nightcap 13-7 in baseball’s version of the “Battle of the Boulevard”. The Bisons were replicas of the road blue uniform worn by the Bisons, the NAIA National Champion, in 1979.
In game two the Bisons set team season highs in hits with 19, RBI with 13 and doubles with six. They tied for the most runs in a game this season, having previously scored 13 against USC Upstate March 15.
“At some point I knew we were going to come together offensively and string some hits together,” said Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand. “Belmont is a good team. The first game could have gone either way for us. We were able to support our pitching with our offense in both games and I feel good about that.”
The Bisons scored three runs in the first, five in the second and one in the third for a 9-0 lead. They scored one in the sixth, two in the seventh and one in eighth.
Belmont scored two runs in the sixth, one in the eighth and four in the ninth.
Junior right-hander Josh Smith, 5-4, pitched seven innings and gave up only two hits and two runs, both unearned. He struck out six and walked five. Josh Cotham pitched the final two innings for the Bisons. He scattered four hits and gave up five runs, four earned. He walked one and struck out two.
Both Branden Cadavid and Justin Sanders had four hits in game two. It was the third time this season that Sanders has collected four hits in a game. It was the second time for Cadavid to record four hits. The only other Bisons player with four hits in a game is Tyler Wilson.
Cadavid, Sanders and Tennyson Dodd each had two doubles in game one. Dodd had three hits in the game and extended his hitting streak to seven games, the highest active streak on the team.
Allen Bolden hit his seventh home run of the season for one of his two hits.
“When the ball doesn’t bounce your way it is hard to get the barrel of the bat on the ball,” said Forehand. “When it does bounce your way it’s easier to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. That is what is happening for Allen.”
In game one junior right-hander Rex Brothers evened his overall record at 5-5 and his conference record at 4-4. He went the distance for the Bisons, scattering seven hits and allowing four runs, all earned. He struck out 10 and walked two. It was the third complete game of the season for Brothers.
“Rex was as fresh at the end of the game as he was at the beginning,” said Forehand. “When the game was tied his adrenalin was really going.”
Brothers, pitching in front of a large contingent of fans from his hometown of Shelbyville, Tenn., had a bumpy start as he gave up a single to left by Derek Hamblin and a bunt single to Dylan Craig. Derek Wiley homered to left to give Belmont a 3-0 lead.
Brothers gave up one more run in the third. He shut down the Bruins the rest of the way.
Sanders was also the big hitter for the Bisons in game one with two home runs to give him a team-leading nine for the season. He is tied with Bolden for most home runs in a game. Bolden had two against Stetson March 20.
“We have been waiting for Justin to have a couple of games like this,” said Forehand. “He started out the season strong, but he had been down a little bit lately.”
With one out in the second Sanders pounded a solo homer over the fence in left center.
In the seventh Bolden led off with a single to third base and Ryan Wilkins walked. Sanders slammed a shot to left center to tie the game.
The Bisons scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the eighth. With two outs Wilkins singled through the left side. Sanders followed with a walk. Clay Lehning was called on to pinch hit. He delivered with a single through the right side.
The Bisons had eight hits in the game. Sanders was the only Bison to have more than one hit in the game. His two home runs were also the only extra base hits for the Bisons.
Sanders leads the Bisons in multiple-RBI games with 10. He was credited with four RBI in game two, the second time this season he has driven in that many runs.
The Bisons, 19-27, 13-10 in the conference; close out the series with Belmont, 25-23, 14-12 in the A-Sun; Sunday at 1. Senior right-hander Brandon McClurg, 4-3, 4.17 ERA, will start for Lipscomb.