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Friday, March 26, 2010Lipscomb senior right-hander Josh Smith struck out a career-high 15 batters Friday night in a 9-4 win over Atlantic Sun foe East Tennessee State at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
Smith, 4-1, threw the first complete game of the season for the Bisons. He gave up five hits and four runs.
Smith's strike out total was the highest in the past four seasons for the Bisons. Rex Brothers struck out 14 April 10 against North Florida last season.
“The story of the game is Josh,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “He came out and gave us a solid performance. We didn’t have to go to our bullpen. That’s a huge plus.
“That’s what we expect from him. Our players have confidence in Josh. We will keep going to him.”
The Bisons spotted ETSU a run in the first inning, but came back to take a 2-1 lead in the third.
“We made some mistakes and let them in the door in the first inning,” Forehand said.
They added six runs in the fourth, highlighted by a two-RBI triple to right center by Kyle Henry and a three-RBI inside the park home run by Zach Messer. The Bisons also capitalized on four ETSU errors, three in the fourth.
ETSU added two more in the eight. The Bisons answered with one.
“It was at twilight,” Forehand said. “Zach got it deep in the gap and they really didn’t react until they heard it hit. We had two outs. The gamble of trying to score right there wasn’t too big. It turned out not to be that close of a play.”
The Bisons finished with seven hits, three for extra bases. In addition to the triple, Henry also had a double to lead off the third inning.
Andrew Nickerson returned to the line-up as the designated hitter after a 12-game absence.
“He has been rehabbing really hard,” Forehand said. “He is cleared to play defense too. We wanted to start him off as the DH.”
Third baseman Cory Hale sat out the game. He might be back Saturday.
Left-hander Alex Ross, 1-1, 4.58 ERA, will get his first A-Sun start of the season in game one Saturday at 1 against ETSU. It will be his second start overall. It will also be his 10th appearance, which will lead the staff. Right-hander Davey Hackett, 1-2, 7.07, will start in the nightcap.
“We’re going to mix it up a little bit with Ross,” Forehand said. “We thought we were picking him up for a situational role, but he has pitched well. We are going to get him out there and see if we can get a quality start. We have a good bullpen behind him because everyone is rested and ready to go.”
The Bisons are 7-15, 2-2 in the A-Sun. ETSU is 14-5, 3-1 in the conference.
“Last week we won the first game against Belmont and kind of coasted into the second game,” Forehand said. “We have talked about that. We have to get off to a good start.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Writer/Director of Media Relations