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Bisons-Belmont Game Notes

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 22, 2008

LIPSCOMB BISONS, No.1 Seed (29-27) vs. Belmont Bruins, No.3 Seed (23-32)

30th ANNUAL ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

MELCHING FIELD AT CONRAD PARK

DELAND, FLA.

MAY 22, 2008

THE SERIES: This is the first time the Bisons and down-the-boulevard rival Belmont have met in the A-Sun Baseball Championship. The Bisons first A-Sun series this season was at Belmont. They lost the opener 5-2 and won the next two games 12-7 and 7-2 on March 1 and 2.

ON-THE-AIR: Game five of the tournament is set to start at 2 p.m. CST. All tournament games are being show live on ASUN TV. Fans can subscribe to the service by going to lipscombsports.com and clicking on the ASUN TV button.

THE TOURNAMENT: The Bisons won their first A-Sun Tournament game Wednesday shutting down Campbell, the No. 6 seed 14-0. The Bruins lost their first ever first round tournament game as Gardner-Webb, the No. 4 seed rallied for a 9-7 win in 10 innings Wednesday.

The double-elimination tournament continues through Saturday. The tournament champion earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS: The win over Campbell set a couple of new team game highs for this season for the Bisons. The 14 runs bested the 13 scored April 1 against Middle Tennessee State in a 13-6 win.

The 13 runs batted in topped the 12 knocked in by the BIsons in two games this season, March 1 against Belmont and April 1 against Middle Tennessee State.

The 17 hits by the Bisons were one short of the 18 against Stetson April 6.

Designated hitter Justin Sanders drove in five runs with a double and a home run. That ties Jared Picchiottino who had five RBI against Middle Tennessee April 1.

Catcher Caleb Joseph scored four runs, a new season high for one game this season.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: This is the second season in a row the Bisons have qualified for the six-team tournament. Last season they lost 4-3 in game one to Stetson and 4-1 in the second game to Gardner-Webb.

In 1987 former A-Sun member Georgia Southern beat Stetson 18-0.

Before the Bisons beat Campbell they were the only current A-Sun team qualified for the tournament that had not won a tournament game.

The Bisons are the second school in 13 years to improve from the No. 6 to the No. 1 seed in one year. The last team to accomplish that feat was former A-Sun member Florida Atlantic in 1999.

ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Brandon McClurg is expected to start for the Bisons. So far this season, McClurg is 6-5 with a 2.70 ERA. He has struck out 69 batters in 76.2 innings.

Left-hander Rex Brothers started in game one of the tournament. He picked up the win, allowing only one hit in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Right-hander Charles Williams gave up one hit in 2 2/3 innings in relief to preserve the shutout.

PROJECTED POSITION STARTERS: C Caleb Joseph, 1B Ryan Wilkins, 2B Ben Williams, SS Jorge Gutierrez, 3B Branden Cadavid, RF Shane Simpkins, CF Allen Bolden, LF Blake Bratcher, DH Justin Sanders.

A-SUN RANKINGS: Brandon McClurg is tied for second in the conference with a 2.70 earned run average. He is first in opposing batting avg. (.230). He is sixth in strikeouts with 69, 8.1 per game.

Pitcher Rex Brothers is first in strikeouts with 91, three short of tying his mark for last season. He is averaging 9.4 per game.

Catcher Caleb Joseph moved into a tie for second in home runs with 15. Joseph is fourth in total bases (141). He is fifth in slugging percentage (.629). He is fifth in RBI (57). He is tied for sixth in doubles (18). He is ninth in hits (78).

Designated hitter Justin Sanders had two doubles against Campbell, giving him 21 for the season and moving him into sole possession of third place in the conference.

Center fielder Allen Bolden had one double against Campbell giving him 20 for the season, good enough for fourth place in the conference.

AWARDS AND HONORS: Pitcher Brandon McClurg and catcher Caleb Joseph both were named to the All-Atlantic Sun Conference First Team.

McClurg has twice been named Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week. In addition, McClurg was also named as one of five "Louisville Slugger" National Players of the Week, as well as awarded the Southeast Region Performance of the Week by InsidePitching.com

McClurg threw a no-hitter against Kennesaw State, a 4-0 win March 29. It was the first A-Sun no-hitter in two years.

HEAR THE BAND: Bisons catcher Caleb Joseph (drums), Bisons pitchers Jordan Baron (rhythm guitar, lead vocals) and Jerry Young (bass guitar) are joined by Lipscomb student Trent Bailey (lead guitar) in rock band called "Cold Steal."

They have played several times at campus event. They practice in the baseball press box.

THE .300 CLUB: Six Bisons are batting .300 or better. Caleb Joseph leads the way at .348 followed by Allen Bolden (.330), Blake Bratcher (.313), Shane Simpkins (.306), Justin Sanders (.306) and Jorge Gutierrez (.303).

PERFECT ATTENDANCE: Three Bisons, Caleb Joseph, Allen Bolden and Jorge Gutierrez, have played and started in all 56 games this season.

WHERE'S YOUR NAME TAG: The Bisons welcomed 10 new players this season, including eight transfers (Jay Moreland, Brad Gooch, Channing Brown, Jorge Gutierrez, Blake Bratcher, Kyle Tognazzini, Ty Ethington, and Mike Dunn.