Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand, whose team had the tying run at second in the bottom of the ninth, felt the game was a good learning experience for his team. Second baseman Kyle Henry, third baseman Cory Hale, shortstop Zach Messer and right fielder Lee Wilson all four made their debuts in a Bisons uniform at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
Pitchers Mike Grace and Alex Ross also made their first appearances for the Bisons.
“We have a lot of new faces,” Bisons coach Jeff Forehand said. “We have to see how they are going to mesh. We are going to be all right.
“There might have been some jitters. Once these new guys get their feet wet I think good things are going to be happening for us.”
Both teams were scoreless in the first three innings. The Bisons struck first with a run in the fourth as Hale scored on an error by the shortstop.
“We had opportunities early in the game to push runs across,” Forehand said. “We talk all the time about putting ourselves in a position to win.”
Murray State answered with three runs and five hits in the fifth, including a home run by designated hitter Bryan Propst, off of starter Josh Smith.
The Bisons tied the game at 3-3 with two runs in the fifth.
Again, Murray State came back with four runs in the sixth against Grace, a right-hander who opened the inning in relief of Smith. Murray State added one more run in the seventh. With one out Ross, a freshman left-hander, entered the game.
The Bisons scored a run in the seventh as Hale hit his first of two consecutive doubles to center field. He scored on a two-out single by Andrew Nickerson.
Right-hander Josh Cotham replaced Ross on the mound with one out in the eighth and finished the game for the Bisons.
“We are going to ask Alex to get us three or four outs in the middle of the game,” Forehand said. “Josh will hopefully get back into his role of coming in and setting things up.”
In the ninth Hale led off with a double. He advanced to third on a fly ball to right field and scored on a passed ball. Nickerson, who had reached base on a walk, went to second on the passed ball, but was left stranded.
Hale led the Bisons in hitting with three hits, four and one RBI. He also was hit by a pitch twice. Nickerson and Wilson each had two hits. They each drove in a run and also each scored a run. The Bisons pounded out 10 hits in the game.
In five innings Smith scattered seven hits, allowed three runs and struck out seven. He did not walk a batter.
“Josh did all right,” Forehand said. “His pitch count got up a little high in the fifth.”
Grace was credited with the loss for the Bisons.
Lead-off hitter Kyle Tiernan and Wes Cunningham each had three hits for Murray State. Tiernan drove in a game-high five runs. Murray State had 13 hits overall.
“You hate to lose a game, but you have to learn from them,” Forehand said. “We have some good things to build on. I am looking forward to Saturday’s game.”
Senior right-hander Matt Bowling will start Saturday’s game at 2. The series will end Sunday at 1 with sophomore right-hander Davey Hackett starting for the Bisons.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations