The Lipscomb Bisons battled Kennesaw State for 11 innings, but fell one run short of getting a sweep of the Atlantic Sun Conference series.
Coach Jeff Forehand, whose Bisons beat Kennesaw State 4-3 Friday night behind the pitching of Josh Smith and 6-0 in game one Saturday as Davey Hackett threw his first ever collegiate shutout and complete game, was disappointed that his team didn’t sweep.
But a few minutes after the 12-11 loss in the nightcap at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium Forehand admitted winning two games in an A-Sun series is a positive.
“We played three good games,” Forehand said. “A sweep against anybody is great. But it is probably one of the hardest things to do in sports."
The Bisons are 12-21, 4-5 in the A-Sun. Kennesaw State is 14-20, 5-7.
“Winning a series gets us back in the conference race where we need to be,” Forehand said. “Winning a series is what we set out to do every weekend.”
The Bisons are still trying to develop a third weekend starter. Freshman left-hander Chris Nunn as filled the role the last two weekends, but he lasted only 1.1 innings against Kennesaw State. He gave up two hits and four runs, all earned. He walked three and struck out two.
Dannie Strable pitched one shutout inning in relief, allowing four hits and walking one.
Mike Grace threw three innings. He scattered four hits and allowed two runs, both earned. He walked one and struck out three. Alex Ross was on the mound for 1.1 innings. He only gave up one hit, but allowed three runs, all earned. He walked two and struck out one.
Chad Fromm came into the game as a closer but wound up spending 4.1 innings on the mound. He was touched for five hits and three runs, two earned. He walked three and struck out four.
Fromm, who fell to 1-5, gave up the game-winning home run to Josh Whitaker to left field to open the 11th. Whitaker and Brandon Brown each had four hits to lead Kennesaw State. Whitaker was tops on the team with three runs batted in.
Ryan Wilkins led the Bisons with four hits, including a home run. Kyle Henry slammed a triple, his second of the day. Tyler Wilson and Matt Brewer each hit a double. It was the first double of the season for Brewer.
The Bisons, thanks to a six-run sixth inning, led 9-6. Kennesaw State tied the game with four runs in the seventh to lead 10-9.
The Bisons answered with two in the eighth for an 11-10 advantage. Kennesaw State tied the game with one in the ninth.
“We had opportunities to win all throughout the game and we didn’t finish the job,” Forehand said.
Five of the runs scored by Kennesaw State were the result of walks.
“That is what is happening to us on game three,” Forehand said. “You can’t defend walks. You have to make the other team earn what it gets.
“Kennesaw State earned it at the end. Everybody remembers the guy that hit the home run which won the game, but five runs were scored on walks. That’s something we have to keep working on. We will try to find us a game three starter to get us off to a good start.”
Hackett, a sophomore right-hander, easily pitched his best collegiate game in his second weekend as the game two starter. He threw his first shutout and his first complete game in a Bisons uniform.
He gave up five runs, three to Kennesaw State’s Peyton Hart. He walked two and struck out eight. Hackett was coming off a frustrating relief performance when he gave up a home run and single at Tennessee Tech Wednesday night.
“Davey was as good I think we seen him,” Forehand said. “He pitched with confidence. We played a good game behind him. When everything is going well that is what Davey Hackett is able to do.”
Forehand thinks that the poor outing at Tennessee Tech was the primary motivation factor for Hackett.
“I think he had a little chip on his shoulder,” Forehand said. “He came out and just pitched a gem. That is what every coach wants.”
Lee Wilson hit his first collegiate home run. Henry had a triple. Cory Hale and Zach Messer each collected a double.
The Bisons are back in action April 13 at Tennessee. They are back in A-Sun play against Florida Gulf Coast April 16-18 at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.