NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Entering the game with only three errors through five contests, the Lipscomb baseball team committed a school-record seven errors leading to a 16-3 loss to Kent State on Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh stadium in Nashville.
The Bison (4-2) committed defensive miscues in each of the first two innings that led to runs by the Golden Flashes (3-2) as Kent State led 2-0 early.
“We beat our self at the game today,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “Walks and catching the ball and throwing it across the field, we had trouble with that today. We made a lot of mistakes we can control.
“When you give a good team that many opportunities they’re going to score that many runs.”
Lipscomb managed to answer back in the fourth inning taking advantage of a Kent State blunder to cut the lead in half. Junior centerfielder Zach Lowery ledoff the frame with a line drive to centerfield for a single but the ball was misplayed and allowed Lowery to cruise into second base. Freshman designated hitter Griffin Moore then notched his first collegiate RBI with a single to left that plated Lowery.
Kent State swung right back in the top of the fifth taking advantage of an error to lead off the inning that extended the inning and allowed the Golden Flashes to plate a pair of unearned runs on triple by catcher David Lyon. That would end the day for Lipscomb southpaw starter Blake Fonfara (0-1), who would eventually take the loss despite not giving up an earned run.
Before being relieved by junior righty Tyler Burstrom in the fifth, Fonfara allowed four unearned runs and two hits in four and two-thirds innings pitched while walking three and fanning five.
Lipscomb managed to scratch across a run in the bottom of the stanza when junior right fielder Lee Wilson drew a two-out walk and then scored after back-to-back singles by M.L. Williams and Lowery. A flyout would end the threat though as Lipscomb left a pair on the corners.
After stopping the Kent State rally in the fifth inning, Burstrom came back out for the sixth and was rudely greeted by the Golden Flashes. When the inning was done, Kent State had pushed across six runs behind four hits and a pair of Lipscomb errors to take a 10-2 advantage.
The Golden Flashes added two more runs in the seventh before Lipscomb cut the lead back to single digits after the stretch. Junior catcher Taylor Stewart ledoff the inning with an infield single and moved up to second on an overthrow on the play. A wild pitch then moved Stewart to third and he came in to score his first run in a Bison uniform to make it a 12-3 deficit.
Any hope of a Lipscomb comeback was quickly doused in the eighth however, as Kent State put the game out of reach with a four-run frame to make it a 16-3 final.
The lone bright spot in the Lipscomb bullpen on Saturday was freshman Austin Schubert, who snapped a 30-plus innings streak of having a runner reach for the Golden Flashes by retiring Kent State in order in his collegiate debut.
“We’ve got to let the bad stuff go, build on the positives and be back ready to face another good team again tomorrow,” said Forehand.
The series heads to a Sunday afternoon rubber game with a scheduled 1 p.m. first pitch at Dugan Field. Junior righty Josh Cotham (0-0) is slated to take the hill for the Bison, while sophomore Tyler Skulina (1-0) is schedule to throw for Kent State.