STARKVILLE, Miss. – Despite twice taking the lead in the contest, the Lipscomb baseball team could not hold on against homestanding Mississippi State falling 16 to 6 on Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field at Polk Dement Stadium.
Lipscomb (4-8) opened the scoring in the contest in the second inning with a three-run frame marking the first time the Bison have led the Bulldogs in the six contests all-time between the two teams. Bison first baseman Zak Messer opened the inning with a double to the right centerfield gap before senior designated hitter Shawn Mehring walked to give Lipscomb two aboard.
Junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval then did his job moving both runners up 90 feet with a perfect sacrifice bunt. A walk by freshman third baseman Tyson Ashcraft loaded the bases for the Bison and was followed by a slow rolling ball hit to third by junior catcher Taylor Stewart that brought in the game’s first run as Messer scored on the groundout. Ashcraft and Mehring then both scored on an RBI single back up the middle by sophomore second baseman Aaron Spragg.
“It’s hard to explain,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “We came off a difficult, difficult loss. When you have to bounce back and play that second game against a really good team, that’s a hard thing to do.
“I think we responded well through the first four innings and then any time you give up an eight-run frame it’s going to be hard to recover from that, especially against a good team like Mississippi State with deep pitching.”
The first-ever lead in the series would not even make it out of the inning as the Bulldogs (10-2) answered right back in the bottom of the stanza pushing across five runs behind four hits and a pair of Lipscomb errors with two outs.
Despite the MSU counterpunch, the Bison battled right back in the fourth to retake the lead with another three-run frame. Sandoval got the rally started with his sixth hit of the weekend and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ashcraft then reached on a Bulldog error that allowed Sandoval to score.
An infield single by Stewart put two aboard for Lipscomb before a Spragg groundout moved the pair into scoring position. That set the table for Williams, who singled back up the middle bringing both runs across and giving Lipscomb a 6-5 lead.
That would be the last lead of the afternoon for Lipscomb however as the Bulldogs erupted for eight runs to take a comfortable lead. That ended the day for Bison starter Blake Fonfara, who went three innings allowing six earned runs and 10 hits while walking one and striking out a pair.
“We just have to be able to keep fighting,” said Forehand. “I still feel like we’re a good baseball team. We just haven’t seized our moment. I’m looking forward to it every time we come back.”
Mississippi State tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth off of junior reliever Danny Hackett as MSU’s C.T. Bradford launched a two-run home run as part of a 4-for-6 game with 6 RBI
Jonathan Holder (1-0) earned the win for the Bulldogs going two and two-thirds innings allowing only two hits, while fanning a three. Fonfara (0-2) took the loss for the Bison.
The Bison return home on Tuesday hosting San Diego at 2 p.m. for “Military Appreciation Day” at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. All active and retired military will receive free admission along with one guest.