May 10, 2006
Every program looks for signature wins and Lipscomb second baseman Whit Reed put his autograph on one of the biggest baseball victories for the Bisons in the NCAA era.
Wednesday evening at Vanderbilt University's Hawkins Field the Bisons rallied for an 11-8 victory, their first win over the Commodores of the Southeastern Conference for Lipscomb Coach Wynn Fletcher. It was the first time the Bisons had beaten Vanderbilt in 13 straight games, dating back to 1991. It was also the second win in as many days for the Bisons who beat Austin Peay 9-2 on the road Tuesday night.
"It means a lot to win against Vanderbilt," said Fletcher. "Whatever you can imagine, that is probably what it means."
A three-run double off of the left field wall by Reed with two outs in the top of the ninth sealed the win for the Bisons.
""I was just hoping to put the bat on the ball," said Reed who had been hitless in his previous eight at bats. "I just wanted to do something to try to help us win. I thought the right fielder was going to catch it, but thankfully it found the wall."
The Bisons fell behind 1-0 in the first inning as Pedro Alvarez slammed a solo home run to right field.
Vanderbilt struck for four runs in the third inning. The Bisons pulled within one run of Vanderbilt with a run in the fourth inning and two in the fifth inning.
With one out in the fifth inning Patrick O'Rourke was hit by a pitch. Bolden followed with a single through the right side. Brewer flied out to center for the second out of the inning. Ryan Mitchell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nathan Sensing singled to left field to bring home O'Rourke and Bolden.
Vanderbilt scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-4 advantage.
But the Bisons weren't through. They pulled to within one run of Vanderbilt again with three runs in the eighth inning. Mitchell singled to right field to lead off the inning. Sensing followed with a single up the middle. After Zac Miller struck out Joseph walked to load the bases. Eric Abend walked to send Mitchell across the plate. Reed struck out. O'Rourke singled to right center to bring home Sensing and Joseph.
In the ninth the Bisons put four runs on the board to take their only lead of the game. Brewer opened with a single to left. Mitchell walked. Sensing put down a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher that moved Brewer to third and Mitchell to second. Miller was intentionally walked. He was replaced by Matt Thomas as a pinch-runner. Joseph walked to send Brewer home. With the bases still loaded Reed sent his shot into the wind and off of the left field wall for three runs.
"Our players understand what it means to stay in a game until the last pitch," said Fletcher. "That's what we did in this game. Vanderbilt didn't execute on a couple of opportunities to drive some runs in. They hit into some timely double plays and those are rally hitters. We ended up staying in it and staying in it and got the big hit to clear the bases."
Josh Smith started for the Bisons, allowing five hits and five runs, one earned in 2.2 innings. He struck out two and walked two. Robby Smithson pitched two innings. He gave up two hits and one earned run while walking four and striking out one. Ryan Carroll threw 2.1 innings, scattering four hits and allowing one earned run. Brandon McClurg came on to close down the game shutting down Vanderbilt in the final two innings on two hits, one walk and one strikeout.
McClurg earned the win, raising his record to 4-2. Vanderbilt sent six pitchers to the mound including starter David Price who threw two scoreless and hitless innings. Stephen Shao took the loss for Vanderbilt, evening his record at 2-2.
Vanderbilt out-hit the Bisons 12-to-11. Brewer, Mitchell and Sensing each had two hits for the Bisons.
The Bisons are 21-27 overall. Vanderbilt is 28-21.
"Last weekend we lost two-out-of-three at Florida Atlantic and we played pretty good," said Fletcher. "I can't take that away from my players.
"We've had good pitching lately. We've had decent hitting. Defense has let us down a couple of times, but we turned the double play pretty well against Vanderbilt. Hopefully, we are starting to play our best ball at the end of the year."
The Bisons head to Jacksonville this Saturday and Sunday to face North Florida in a key Atlantic Sun Conference series.