Bisons' offensive records didn't produce enough wins
Monday, June 21, 2010
Bisons' offensive records didn't produce enough wins
If a team doesn’t have consistent pitching and solid defense it doesn’t matter what it does on offense.

That can be seen in black-and-white with some red highlights in a statistical breakdown of the Lipscomb Bisons 2010 season in which they posted a 19-36 record. The Bisons were 9-17 in Atlantic Sun Conference games.

The Bisons set NCAA era program records in nine offensive categories _ batting average (.301), runs (396), triples (21), home runs (59), runs batted in (358), slugging percentage (.461), hit by pitch (76), stolen bases (93) and stolen base attempts (119). The 915 total bases are second to the 941 in 2008. The 598 hits are second behind the 655 in 2008. The 1,986 at bats in 2010 are second to the 2,220 in 2008. The 2008 season marked the most wins by the program with 33 and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.

“I felt like our pitching was going to be adequate enough to back up the run support,” Bisons’ coach Jeff Forehand said. “Obviously, it wasn’t.

“You have to pitch it and catch it. You can’t let in more runs than you knock in. We showed we can have a great offensive year, but have sub-par year in wins and losses when we don’t play defense and we don’t pitch.”

The .301 team batting average marks the first time the Bisons have broken that barrier as a team. The 2001 team batted .298. The 2008 team batted .295.

“That is the one that stands out for me the most,” Forehand said. “That is one we have been trying to crack for the longest time.”

The Bisons posted a .381 on base percentage, one percentage point short of the NCAA era record of .382 set in 2001 and only 13 points lower than the .368 recorded by the 2008 team.

“From a coaching standpoint we like on base percentage a little bit more because we think that produces and leads to more runs than the actual batting average,” Forehand said. “The batting average just means we are producing more hits. If your batting average is .301 then you should be at least a .500 baseball team.”

The Bisons were one short of 60 home runs as a team, easily eclipsing 2008’s previous high of 48. Forehand recalls that the 2008 team had a knack for timely offensive production.

“The 2008 team had a knack for scoring runs with two outs,” Forehand said. “That team had a knack for getting the big base hit. We had guys who were producing timely hits.

“The 2010 team set a lot of records, but sometimes we didn’t hit opportunistically. I can’t say anything about our offense this year. Chris Collins does a good job with the hitting as an assistant coach.”

The offense loses Ryan Wilkins, Andrew Nickerson and Tyler Wilson. Forehand is hopeful that Tennyson Dodd can step in for Wilkins and that Ricky Coleman can fill in for Tyler Wilson. Finding an offensive replacement for Nickerson is a little more open in terms of decision making.

“We have numbers to replace those guys offensively,” Forehand said. “We have to be more consistent on the mound where these records we set offensively can stand up. You have to put up `W”s with all of those offensive records.”

The pitching staff combined for a 7.54 earned run average this season, the highest in the program’s history in NCAA Division I. They also gave up the most hits (652), the most runs (471) and the most earned runs (410). Opponent’s hit .322 against the Bisons’ pitchers, also a program high, and the highest since 2006’s .312 average.

“Hopefully, we can be equal on all sides next season,” Forehand said. “We are shooting to break the offensive records again next year.

“I’m hoping the offense can pick up where it left off and the pitching can hold us in there. If we pitch to our potential we are going to be a pretty good team next season.”

The Bisons will open the 2011 season with three straight weekend series at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium against Dayton, Marshall and Purdue.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations. Assistant coach Chris Collins provided the statistical analysis.