After falling short in a series of late game rallies the Lipscomb Bisons scored three runs in the seventh and five more in the ninth to beat the University of Kentucky 8-7 on a cold and drizzly Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky.
“It felt good to get one like that and give someone else the medicine we were given Sunday at Florida Gulf Coast,” said Bisons coach Jeff Forehand. “We were loose. It was cold and it rained all night. But we had a lot of enthusiasm.”
The win was the first in five games against Southeastern Conference teams this season. The Bisons are 3-0 all-time against Kentucky in the NCAA era with the first two wins dating back to 2002 and 2003.
The Bisons had to battle back from behind. Kentucky jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning and added four more ruins in the sixth. They scored one run in the ninth, but fell short of stopping the Bisons comeback.
Matt Bowling started for the Bisons. He gave up two runs, both earned, on three hits. He walked one and struck out one.
Josh Cotham was the first pitcher called in from the bullpen. He also last three innings, scattering four hits and allowing four runs, all earned. He walked two and stuck out one.
Martin Grude got the call next, pitching two innings. He was touched for three hits. Kentucky scored one run against him. He struck out two. Grude was credited with the win, evening his season record at 1-1.
Kyle Tognazzini closed the game out for the Bisons, earning his sixth save of the year.
“Bowling, Cotham and Grude all pitched great,” said Forehand. “Tognazzini came in with runners on first and third and no outs in the ninth. He got Kentucky to hit into a double play and a ground out.”
The Bisons had nine hits with Tyler Wilson and Branden Cadavid each collecting two hits. Wilson also had two runs batted in.
In the seventh inning Tennyson Dodd doubled down the right field line. He drove in Andrew Nickerson who had walked. With two outs Wilson singled through the left side to score Dodd and Antonio Butler who had reached base on a fielder’s choice. Butler would score on a wild pitch.
The Bisons struck again in the ninth. Justin Sanders singled to the shortstop scoring M.L. Williams who was on base as the result of an error by Kentucky’s second baseman. Wilson, who had singled to left, scored on a passed ball. Nickerson then reached base on a fielding error by the second baseman which sent Sanders and Channing Brown home.
“This was a good team win,” Forehand said. “We had big hits. We made good plays. We had solid base running and great pitching.”
Wilson has 23 stolen bases. Cadavid and Dodd each had a double.
It was the last non-conference road game for the Bisons this season. They are 16-24 overall. Kentucky is 21-18 overall.
The Bisons continue their string of road games this weekend when they return to Atlantic Sun play Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Jacksonville.