Bisons open A-Sun portion of the season against Belmont
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Bisons open A-Sun portion of the season against Belmont
Lipscomb Bisons coach Jeff Forehand divides a baseball game into three phases.

“In football there is offense, defense and special teams,” Forehand said. “In baseball the special teams is executing the short game on offense.

“Hopefully, plan A is on offense is we are hitting the ball up against the fence and we are scoring a bunch of runs. On defense we will be pitching it well and we will execute our short game stuff and reading situations with each plate appearance.”

Forehand is hopeful that the Bisons will put all three phases together this weekend when they play Belmont in their first Atlantic Sun Conference series of the season. The Friday and Saturday games start at 3 p.m. Sunday’s game starts at 1. All three games will be played at Shelby Park.

The games will be available free of charge on A-Sun TV. They will also be available through Gametracker through Belmont's athletics website.

The Bisons will start three right-handers in the series. Josh Smith, 2-1, 3.76 ERA) will start Friday. Dannie Strable, 0-1, 7.40, gets the nod Saturday. Davey Hackett, 1-2, 7.25, will be on the mound Sunday.

“Our three phases have not all played well together,” Forehand said. “We have either played poorly on the mound and scored a bunch of runs, or we have been just the opposite where we have pitched but haven’t scored.

“Even if we play one phase well and we are just adequate in the other two phases we will be in good shape. We haven’t done that consistently through the first 16 games.

Belmont is 11-6, 0-3 in the Atlantic Sun. The Bisons are 5-11, 0-0 in the conference. Belmont won 18-11, a season high for runs, Wednesday against Cleveland State. The Bisons lost 18-15 to Middle Tennessee State Tuesday night, also a season high in runs.

“I told our players they can’t be concerned about our record,” Forehand said. “We have made huge progress even though it doesn’t show in our record. Our guys know we are moving forward and getting better.

“I think the offense is coming around. We had 20 hits against MTSU. Right now we have to work on slowing people down on offense, something we haven’t done a good job of lately.”

The Bisons came back in the ninth inning to score eight runs and eight hits against MTSU. In the March 13 game with Michigan the Bisons gave up 10 runs in the first inning. Michigan added four in the second. In the third and the fourth they added one run each.

The Bisons fought back with six runs in the third, three in the fourth and two each in the fifth and sixth. They added one more in the seventh.

“Chris Collins (assistant coach) said as we walking to the bus after the Michigan game that he felt like we won the game,” Forehand said. “We could have very easily rolled over after Michigan scored 10 runs. The moral victory was good, but the bottom line is we have to finish games and win them.

“It was the same thing in the MTSU game. We got way behind, but we didn’t give up. Hopefully, it proves to our players that if are down by four or five runs that we have the capability of coming back. They have seen it happen.”

The Wilson brothers, Tyler and Lee, are pacing the Bisons on offense. Tyler is batting .391 in the lead-off position and also has 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts. Lee is close behind at .390.

Cory Hale is batting .370. He leads the Bisons in runs batted in with 16 and is tied for the lead in home runs with three and in doubles with five.

The Bisons have to play 27 conference games. The top six teams will qualify for the A-Sun Tournament. The conference tournament will be played this season at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.

“I think the series are all the same,” Forehand said. “Every coach would say there is so much parity in our league. Florida Gulf Coast is a great team, but just about everybody else is about the same. It’s hard to say who is going to win each series.

“Each series is important. Everyone wants to win every game. We would love to sweep a series. Winning two-out-of-three in a series is tough too whether no matter which team in the conference you are talking about.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Writer/Director of Media Relations.