NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Pounding out 10-plus hits for the third-straight game, the Lipscomb baseball team opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 7-2 win over Jacksonville on Friday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“Like I told the guys, I thought the game was a little sloppy on our end,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “We only gave up two runs but the feeling of the game was that it was a little sloppy and we need to clean some things up that we can control. “
The Dolphins (4-11, 0-1 A-Sun) opened the scoring in the contest with a run in the first but the Bisons (11-8, 1-0 A-Sun) bats would answer right back with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Reigning A-Sun Player of the Week Drew Adams was beaned with two away in the stanza to get things started.
Junior designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft then drew a four pitch walk setting things up for sophomore third baseman Austin Sistrunk, who tied the game with a single up the middle bringing Adams home and moving Ashcraft to third.
Ashcraft then scored when a failed pitch out caromed off the glove of Jacksonville catcher Braddock Rowe to make it a 2-1 lead for the Bisons.
Lipscomb then added a pair of runs in the third when junior shortstop Grant Massey launched a home run just to the left of the flag pole in left center that scored junior centerfielder Jonathan Allison, who ledoff the inning with a double.
The Dolphins would threaten to have a big inning in the fourth inning as Jacksonville loaded the bases with no outs against Bisons junior starter Ian Martinez-McGraw, but the knuckleballer would get out of the jam with only one run scored after sending three down swinging.
Allison got things rolling again in the fifth reaching on an error before Massey drew his 21st walk of the season. An infield single by Adams loaded the bases Ashcraft and veteran delivered a flare into the right center gap that found the grass and plated Allison. Sistrunk then singled through the left side bringing home both Massey and Adams and giving the Bisons a 7-2 advantage.
Martinez-McGraw picked up the win on the hill tossing seven and one-thirds innings. The righty scattered nine hits and allowed two earned runs while walking a pair and fanning five. Redshirt-senior Jacob Knott earned his third save of the year pitching the last inning and two-thirds without allowing a batter to reach.
“I’m proud of what the pitchers did tonight,” said Forehand. “Ian battled through not being able to locate the ball as well as he normally does and then Jacob was able to clean it up for us.”
Coming into the weekend having allowed only three earned runs on the year, Josh Baker took the loss for the Dolphins. The southpaw gave up five earned runs in four and one-third innings of work. He also gave up five hits and a pair of walks, while striking out five.
Sistrunk led Lipscomb at the dish with a 2-for-4 night and three RBIs. Ashcraft and senior catcher Nick Rome also had two-hit nights for the Purple and Gold in the win.
The victory is the ninth straight marking the longest winning streak in the NCAA Division I era for the Bisons.
Due to rain in the forecast on Sunday, the series is now scheduled to wrap up on Saturday as the two teams will take the field for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at Dugan Field.