Such was the case for the Lipscomb Bisons Friday night. They gave left-hander Blake Fonfara his first start of the season and moved regular Friday night starter Richie Goodenow to the bullpen.
Fonfara pitched seven innings and gave up two runs. Goodenow, also a left-hander, relieved and threw two scoreless innings to pick up his second save.
The Bisons extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-2 win over North Florida.
“I thought it was a pretty clean game all the way around,” Bisons’ coach Jeff Forehand said. “We got Blake three runs pretty early and he was able to relax a little bit. It worked out like we wanted it to with Richie coming in at the end.”
Goodenow struck out five and gave up two hits.
“Richie didn’t have to pace,” Forehand said. “He threw that power breaking ball. That’s how we envisioned it. Hopefully, Goodenow can get a little rest Saturday and come back and do it again Sunday.”
The Bisons were sparked by M.L. Williams and Josh Chism offensively. Williams needed only a triple to hit for the cycle. The home run was also the first of the season for Williams.
“I’ll take that lead-off performance every game,” Forehand said. “He can change a game. He is not the typical lead-off batter because he swings the bat. He is aggressive.”
Chism had a pair of hits, both for extra bases, and a game-leading three runs batted in.
“Chism is in a good place right now,” Forehand said. “We just have to keep him going.
“We have been talking all week about having a good swing in particular counts. The more hits you get, the more confidence you get. Hitting is so mental. He isn’t second-guessing himself. He has been hitting it on the barrel the last three or four games.”
Saturday at 4 the Atlantic Sun series will continue with North Florida at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen Lee Marsh Stadium. Connor Sinclair, 2-3, 2.15 earned run average, will get the start for the Bisons. Sunday’s game starts at 1.
The Bisons are 11-15, 3-4 in the A-Sun. North Florida is 14-13, 6-7 in the conference.
The Bisons opened the scoring in the third inning. Williams led off with a solo homer down the left field line. With two outs Chism blasted a two-run home run to left field.
“The home run M.L. hit got us off of the mat,” Forehand said. “Chism’s home run capped off a good inning. And then Chism got another big two-out hit in the seventh.”
North Florida scored a run in the fourth when Alex Bacon hit a solo home run over the left field fence.
In the seventh North Florida cut the lead to one run when Shane Kennedy hit a ball to deep center that he turned into a rare inside-the-park home run. It was his first home run of the season.
The Bisons added another run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out Richie Goodenow singled to third base and advanced to second on a balk after Tennyson Dodd flied out. Chism got his second extra base hit of the game with a double to left center that sent Goodenow home.
Fonfara scattered four hits, walked one and struck out five to pick up his first win.
“We just told Blake that we needed him to do the same thing he had been doing out of the bullpen in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings except we needed him to do it right out of the gate,” Forehand said. “When you don’t walk many guys, fill up the strike zone and let them get themselves out a few times you are doing a pretty good job.
“I am proud of his start. For him to give us seven innings was just gravy. We were hoping for five.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.