NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team needed a clutch at bat to force extra innings and a clutch at bat to win the game and the Bisons got both to win a hard-fought 3-2, 11-inning Atlantic Sun Conference win over Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
After FGCU (18-27, 9-10 A-Sun) rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth, it took a sacrifice fly by Lipscomb (21-24, 10-9 A-Sun) junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval on an 11-pitch at bat to send the game into extra innings. The Bisons then got another clutch hit in the 11th to win the game as junior third baseman Gray Hutchinson got behind 0-2 in the count but battled back to lace a 2-2 single to the left center gap that scored junior designated hitter Ricky Coleman, who had led off the frame with a single and moved up to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Sandoval.
“Up and down, it was just a great baseball game all around,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “You’ve got to give (Florida) Gulf Coast credit, they played a solid game too. We just happened to get a hit at the right time.
“There were so many plays in there that changed the game. Everybody had a big part in this win.”
The game was a pitcher’s duel for the first seven innings as Lipscomb senior starter Connor Sinclair and FGCU starter Ricky Knapp went toe-to-toe before Sinclair exited with a 1-0 lead after seven innings. The Bisons had drawn first blood in the sixth as junior backstop Taylor Stewart ripped one of his game-high, three singles to lead off the inning.
A bunt single by junior right fielder Lee Wilson put two aboard before a failed bunt attempt saw Stewart retired at third but Wilson moved up to second safely. That would prove key because during the next at bat, Wilson was picked off of second base on a throw behind him from FGCU catcher Andrew Valencia but the throw was dropped and Wilson managed to move up to third.
That would prove costly as Wilson would later score the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly to center field by junior centerfielder Zach Lowery.
Senior southpaw Gil Rehwinkel picked up his second extra-innings win in the last two weeks tossing the final three and one-thirds innings. The Eagles did plate a pair of runs off the lefty as FGCU mounted their comeback in the ninth inning. Rehwinkel finished the night allowing five hits and two earned runs while walking a pair and striking out a pair of Eagles.
Brady Anderson took the loss in relief of Knapp for FGCU allowing four hits and one earned run over the final one and two-thirds innings.
The two teams battle again on Saturday night as the Bisons host “Senior Night” at Dugan Field. Lipscomb will take a few moments before the game to honor the class of 2012.