BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Lipscomb baseball team fell 3-2 on the road at Western Kentucky Wednesday afternoon after the Hilltoppers scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning.
Lipscomb’s record dropped to 18-12 overall while the Hilltoppers improved to 16-14.
The Bisons were only able to bang out five hits on the day, but did show why they ranked fourth in the nation in walks coming into the week, drawing 11 free passes in the game.
“We never could get the big hit when we needed it,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “We walked 11 times as a team today, so we did get guys on base with some great opportunities, but we couldn’t convert like we have been doing."
Western Kentucky struck first in the second frame when David Simmons roped a double into the left centerfield gap to score third baseman Thomas Peter to take a 1-0 lead over the Bisons. Lipscomb’s freshman southpaw Jamie Young loaded the bases with a walk before hitting the next batter in the shoulder to bring in a second run and give the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead after two.
The Bisons struggled at the plate for most of the game before junior outfielder Tyson Ashcraft crushed a 2-2 offering over the left field fence to tie the game at 2-2 in the sixth. The home run was Ashcraft’s team-leading fourth dinger and Lipscomb’s first long ball since Drew Adams homered on March 21 against Kennesaw State.
“I was glad to see Tyson put a good swing on the ball,” Forehand said. “He has been struggling a little bit with breaking balls lately, so it was good to see him read the pitch and tie the game up for us. Hopefully he can carry that into the weekend for us.”
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the eighth when John Pryor’s wild pitch allowed Anderson Miller to cross the dish to take a 3-2 lead.
Lipscomb tried to make it interesting in the ninth. After recording two quick outs, Jonathan Allison ripped a ball down the left field line for a single. Grant Massey, who had three hits in the game, crushed a line drive into center. Unfortunately, Simmons made a highlight reel diving catch to end the game and send the Bisons back to Nashville with a defeat.
Pryor took the loss and dropped to 0-1 on his freshman campaign after working two innings. He gave up one hit and one run with one strikeout.
Young had a solid starting debut for the Bisons throwing four innings. He gave up four hits and two runs while walking two.
“Jamie (Young) struggled a little bit in the first two innings,” Forehand said. “But he was able to work through it and had some great innings in the second and third. It is still a learning process for him, but hopefully he can build from what he did today.”
Josh Bartley, 3-2, got the win for Western Kentucky.
“We just have to put this one past us and refocus our attention to this weekend for conference play,” Forehand said.
After an eight-game road trip, Lipscomb returns to the friendly confines of Dugan Field Friday for an Atlantic Sun Conference series against cross-state rival ETSU. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m.