FORT MYERS,Fla. – A pair of defensive gems proved to be the difference in Saturday morning’s rubber game as Lipscomb dropped a tough 4-3 Atlantic Sun Conference decision to homestanding FGCU at Swanson Stadium in Ft. Myers.
“We got the big hit in the seventh when Drew Adams battled in what is probably the best at bat of the year with his triple that brought in three,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “Then we got him back up in the ninth with runners on first and second and he gets hit.
“That gave us the tying run at third and the winning run at second. It just didn’t work out for Stew (Taylor Stewart) this time. He had two hits already today and has been swinging it great. I don’t know that there’s anyone else we would want up there. Their guy just made a great pitch.”
The Eagles (18-6, 4-2 A-Sun) took advantage of an early defensive miscue that could have ended the inning to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the first off Lipscomb (10-19, 2-4 A-Sun) redshirt sophomore starter Will Blalock.
Lipscomb sophomore first baseman Griffin Moore nearly put the Bisons on the board in the second with a deep fly to right field but FGCU right fielder Brooks Beisner hauled it in at the top of the wall robbing the potential home run.
FGCU would add a run in the third behind a sacrifice fly and another run in the behind a one-out double and subsequent single.
The Bisons get the bats going in the seventh inning pushing across three runs as Adams got behind 0-2 but battled back and laced a two-out double just inside the right field line clearing the bases. Sophomore designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft got the rally started with a leadoff infield single before fellow classmates Noah Chandler drew a walk and Moore was hit-by-pitch.
With Adams sitting on third Stewart looked to have his third hit of the contest and to have tied the game with a flare to shallow right centerfield but FGCU second baseman Brandon Bednar made a leaping over the shoulder catch to preserve the lead for the Eagles.
Lipscomb mounted a comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth with two outs as junior left fielder Chad Shannon walked before senior pinch hitter Lee Wilson and Adams were both plunked to load the bases but the Eagles managed to get out of the jam and win the series.
Blalock took the loss despite allowing only three runs on the morning. The righty allowed seven hits and three walks while fanning three.
“Another good job by our pitching staff today,” said Forehand. We gave up a two-run first but after that we settled in. I’m proud of what we did this weekend on the mound. We put ourselves in position to win two ball games.
“We’ve just got to take advantage of that. Yesterday we took advantage of that, today we didn’t.”
FGCU starter Michael Murray earned the win with a six-inning, five-hit, five-strikeout performance. Harrison Cooney picked up the save working a 2.1 innings despite loading the bases in the ninth.
The Bisons continue road action on Tuesday taking on instate rival Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn.