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Baseball hosts Belmont in weekend series

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Bisons are shifting their attention towards an important rivalry weekend as they look to take on Belmont in a three-game series this weekend at Ken Dugan Field.

Coming off four consecutive losses, Lipscomb (14-27, 5-13) will face a team in Belmont (23-19, 12-9) who has won their last seven Atlantic Sun games.  

Lipscomb assistant coach Chris Collins said Belmont’s experience makes them one of the tougher teams in the conference to play.

“Belmont is a veteran team,” Collins said.  “That is the thing that separates them from a lot of other teams that they have had in the past.  They still have plenty of talent, but they are so veteran.”

Six of the Bruins normal starters are either juniors or seniors.  

“They have been around the block,” Collins said.  “They know what they have got to do over the next couple of weekends to make the tournament.  Their experience is probably the thing that makes them what they are as a team.”

The Bisons are coming off a disappointing three losses in last weekend’s conference series at Mercer.  Lipscomb was outscored 28-8 throughout the three games.  Collins said Mercer made the Bisons pay for every mistake.

“I think overall, the biggest thing was defensively we had some opportunities to make some plays that would have kept us in the two games we ended up not being able to really compete in,” Collins said.  “In those situations we made some errors that cost us some runs.”

Lipscomb planned on trying to regain some momentum with a home game against UT Martin that was scheduled for Tuesday, however, forecasted storms forced a cancellation.  

With the Bisons wrapping up the academic year and final exams beginning this weekend, Collins said getting some extra rest this week may prove to work in Lipscomb’s favor.

“From a hitting stand point, you always want to continue to have live at-bats,” Collins said.  “But also you can’t underestimate the benefit of some rest at this point in the year, especially with finals coming up.”

“Sometimes a rest like this can actually be beneficial when you might think that it shouldn’t be because you want to stay in a groove and in a rhythm.  Maybe with a rest like this we will come out with a renewed energy and a renewed focus towards the last 12 conference games.”

With a 5-13 record in the Atlantic Sun, the Bisons have not been content to coast through the remainder of the season.  Instead, Lipscomb continues to make changes and try to find a formula that works.  Already the Bisons have experimented with two different Friday night pitchers, and this weekend Lipscomb plans to try another arm on the hill Friday.

Right-handed junior Connor Sinclair, who has remained a solid game two starter for the Bisons, will now get his try at the Friday spot.  Sophomore Blake Fonfara will move to the Saturday lineup, and Sunday’s starter has yet to be determined.  

Collins said each conference series is important, but whenever Belmont is involved, the intensity level increases.

“I think any time you play Belmont, you have got the Battle of the Boulevard thing going on,” Collins said.  “And you have got some hopefully more intense focus than you might have otherwise.”

The first pitch in the series will be thrown at 6 p.m. central on Friday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen Lee Marsh Stadium.  Saturday’s game will also begin at 6 p.m.  The series finally will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday.  Complete coverage can be heard on the Lipscomb Sports Network.  Each game will also be televised on A-Sun TV.