|March 21, 2014||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: MARTINEZ-MCGRAW (3-1)||6.1||6||5||5||2||0|
|Loss: HARSH (2-3)||4.0||4||6||5||3||4|
|March 23, 2014||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: NORMAN (3-1)||7.2||4||1||1||3||1|
|Loss: HILLYER (2-1)||7.1||5||2||0||4||7|
KENNESAW, Ga. – Web gems were the theme of the night including one in the bottom of the ninth that secured the victory for the Lipscomb baseball team on Friday night in a 7-6 Atlantic Sun Conference win over homestanding Kennesaw State at Stillwell Stadium
“It was an eventful ending but it shouldn’t have been,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “We made a bad pitch in the fifth after going up 7-1. A single, a walk and then an advantage 3-1 count sees their best hitter hit a 3-run homer. So that’s part of the game if we could have gotten back, it wouldn’t have made it so exciting at the end.
“What a great play Ty at the end of the game though. We feel good about the first one. We can enjoy for a while tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”
Among the highlight reel plays by the Bisons (14-9, 3-1 A-Sun) was a full extension dive by junior left fielder Tyson Ashcraft with two on in the ninth that secured the win for the Purple and Gold. With runners on first and second, KSU’s Bo Way hit an arching drive into the left centerfield that looked to send the Owls (12-13, 1-3 A-Sun) with a walk-off hit but Ashcraft had other ideas and launched himself in time to snag the ball before it bounced on the green turf.
The veteran then fired the ball in to the infield for an easy double play as KSU’s Kal Simmons had already crossed home plate and had no chance of retreating all the way to second base to tag up.
“I saw the ball come up in the gap and it was from a lefty, so I knew it was going to tail back toward me,” said Ashcraft. “I had enough time to run under it and make a dive. I knew their guys were probably running because it was in the gap, so I was just trying to get it back to the infield to try and double them up.”
Along with Ashcraft’s diving stop, the Bisons played flawless baseball defensively including a diving stab by junior second baseman Mike Korte that snared a line drive that was headed for the gap.
“We defended tonight the way I felt we would defend all year,” said Forehand. “Tonight was one of those nights when the ball was hit to us and we made outs. Mike made a great play on the dive early in the game. We just played sharp tonight.”
The Owls broke open the scoring first in the contest with a run before Lipscomb got on the board in the fourth when senior right fielder Drew Adams crushed a pitch over the left field fence for a 2-run home run. Adams’ third home run of the season brought in junior shortstop Grant Massey, who reached ahead of Adams on a bunt single.
The offense kept it going in the top of the fifth with a five-run frame aided by an Owl miscue. Redshirt sophomore Adam Lee opened the frame with a leadoff walk before junior second baseman Mike Korte singled through the right side on a hit and run to put tow aboard.
Senior catcher Nick Rome then loaded the bases when he was plunked setting things up for junior centerfielder Jonathan Allison, who walked to bring home Lee. Massey then delivered a hard grounder to first that took a bad hop, and caromed off KSU first baseman Chris McGowan. The ball made its way to a charging Cornell Nixon, who gathered it only to throw wide of the bag at first.
The errant throw allowed both Korte and Rome to score and put both runners in scoring position. Adams followed with a ball hit to deep short that scored Allison for his third RBI of the night. Junior left fielder Tyson Ashcraft then rounded out the scoring with an RBI groundout that plated Massey to make it a 7-1 cushion.
The six-run advantage did not last long however as the Owls answered right back in the bottom of the frame with a 3-run stanza courtesy of a 3-run blast from KSU catcher Max Penecost that made it a 7-4 contest.
Penecost came through again in the clutch for the Owls in the bottom of the seventh with a 2-out, 2-RBI double that brought KSU within a run at 7-6 but that is as close as the home team would come.
Junior righty Ian Martinez-McGraw earned the win on the hill allowing five earned runs and six hits in six and one-third innings of action. Redshirt-senior Jacob Knott earned the save working one inning allowing only an intentional walk for his fourth save of the year.
Allison led the Bisons at the dish collecting three of the seven hits on the night for the Purple and Gold.
The series continues on Saturday with game two set for a 1 p.m. first pitch. Redshirt junior Hunter Brothers is set to take the hill against KSU’s Travis Bergen.