FORT MYERS, Fla. – Missing a pair of key scoring chances early, the Lipscomb baseball team was blanked 8-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference action by homestanding Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday night at Swanson Field in Ft. Meyers.
Lipscomb (9-18, 1-3 A-Sun) had a chance to put a run up against FGCU (17-5, 3-1 A-Sun) all-star Ricky Knapp in the first inning getting a pair of runners on but a strong throw by Knapp to the plate nabbed Bison senior catcher Taylor Stewart and ended the threat.
“We had some chances in the first and third innings against arguably the best pitcher in the conference,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “I ran us out of the first inning by sending Stewart and then we had a chance in the third followed by a big bottom of the inning. Knapp settled in after that and put ourselves in a really tough position.”
Stewart got the threat started with a single up the middle before redshirt freshman second baseman Noah Chandler reached on an error to keep the inning alive. Sophomore designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft followed with a blast that caromed off of Knapp into foul ground where FGCU first baseman Zack Tillery had to grab it and fire to Knapp, who was covering the bag.
The throw was dropped by Knapp and bounced away giving Stewart the green light to score after rounding third but the throw was right on target and that was as close as Lipscomb would come to scoring on the evening.
Lipscomb threatened again in the third when Stewart singled back up the box and senior third baseman Aaron Sandoval followed with a single through the right side but Knapp quickly extinguished the flames with two of his seven strikeouts on the night.
The Eagles on the other hand were able to get the offense going early with a run in the second, six runs in the third and a run in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Knapp would improve to 6-0 on the season and lower his season ERA to 0.99 with a 6.2 inning performance allowing five hits and two walks.
Senior righty Davey Hackett took the loss for the Bisons giving up five runs and seven hits in 2.1 innings of work.
The series continues on Friday at 2 p.m. in Ft. Myers in a game that was moved up to accommodate FGCU’s Friday-night men’s basketball Sweet 16 contest against Florida.