NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Behind a school record 13 walks, the Lipscomb baseball team downed SIUE 11-4 on Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
After falling behind early 2-0 the Bisons (2-0) got things going with a 4-run fourth inning aided by a Cougar (0-2) error and control issues from SIUE reliever Caleb Wilkerson (0-1) to take the lead. After sophomore designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft was beaned to leadoff the frame, he was able to take second on a passed ball and then score when junior catcher Nick Rome reached on an errant throw that pulled SIUE first baseman Joel Greatting off the bag.
Sophomore shortstop Joey Cecere kept the rally going as he was plunked with one away to move Rome into scoring position. Wilkerson then moved both runners up 90 feet sending a pitch to the backstop before loading the bases with a free pass to Lipscomb centerfielder Zach Lowery.
With the bases jammed full of Bisons, sophomore first baseman drew a base-on-balls for the first of two RBI on the afternoon. Wilkerson followed up the free pass to Moore by drilling junior left fielder Chad Shannon to give Lipscomb a 3-2 advantage. Senior third baseman Gray Hutchinson then drew another walk to make it a two-run cushion for the Purple and Gold as Lowery came across the plate.
“As a coach you look at the stat line and you see that they walked us 13 times,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff forehand. “As a coach, I feel like we left a lot of opportunities out there. We’ve got to capitalize a little bit more on that but the middle of the order exactly what we want them to do knocking in runs.”
Despite the Cougars going to the bullpen and bringing in Zach Malach, the walk parade continued in the fifth inning for Lipscomb as senior second baseman Jonathan Craycraft, Rome and Cecere drew back-to-back free passes to start the inning ending Malach’s day. Luke Ingersoll came in for SIUE hoping to stop the bleeding but the reliever walked Drew Adams to plate Geordie Carlson, who pinch ran for Craycraft.
Moore then drew his third walk of the contest and sixth of the weekend grabbing another easy RBI as Rome cruised across the dish to make it a 5-2 game. An infield single by Shannon kept the rally going as Cecere came home to score before Hutchinson laced a double to left scoring both Moore and Adams. Ashcraft would then make it a 10-2 lead for the Bisons with a groundout that plated Shannon.
The score held at 10-2 until the seventh inning when Moore got things started with a leadoff single and moved up to second on a walk by Hutchinson. A flyout to deep right by Ashcraft allowed both runners to move up 90 feet and set the table for freshman second baseman Austin Sistrunk, who collected his first collegiate RBI with an infield single.
The Cougars would plate a pair of runs in the eighth inning off of sophomore reliever Austin Schubert before the righty settled down and got out of the inning but it would be too little too late.
Senior righthander Davey Hackett picked up the win for the Bisons going five innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits. The veteran issued a trio of walks and notched one strikeout to improve to 1-0. The Bisons got solid relief work from both senior Jordan Zelhart, who worked two scoreless innings and Ashcraft, who made his pitching debut for LU with a scoreless ninth inning.
“Hackett gave us a solid five innings and Zelhart was solid,” said Forehand. “With Schubert coming back off an injury, we were fortunate to get him back out there and get his feet wet again. We’re trying to experiment a little bit with Tyson (Ashcraft) out there a bit and it looks like it’s going to work out.”
Lipscomb concluded the three-game series with SIUE on Sunday with first pitch set for 1 p.m. from Dugan Field. To purchase tickets logon to http://www.BeHerdLU.com