February 21, 2012123456789RHE
Middle Tennesee St.100000100262
Win: REHWINKEL (1-0) 2.110016
Loss: Kooper Kessler (0-1) 1.111110
Ryan Ford (MT) 402010
Johnny Thomas (MT) 412201
LOWERY (LIP) 503200
February 21, 2012123456789RHE
Middle Tennesee St.010000000110
Win: STRABLE (1-0) 6.000012
Loss: Wes Robinson (0-1) 0.111120
Johnny Thomas (MT) 401000
MESSER (LIP) 412201
Strong pitching leads Bison to sweep of MTSU
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Strong pitching leads Bison to sweep of MTSU
Cotham notched eight of LU's record 16k's in game one (Courtesy: B. Ogdin)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Behind record-setting pitching and timely hitting, the Lipscomb baseball team swept a doubleheader from Middle Tennessee 3-2 and 3-1 on Tuesday at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.

Game one of the twinbill saw the Lipscomb (3-1) pitchers rack up a school record 16 strikeouts against Middle Tennessee (1-3) led by eight from junior starter Josh Cotham.  The righty went five solid innings allowing only one earned run, three hits and a pair of walks.  Cotham was joined in the strikeout parade by junior southpaw with a pair and fellow lefty Gil Rehwinkel (1-0), who earned the win on the bump.

Rehwinkel tossed the final two and one-thirds innings and fanned six of the seven Blue Raiders he faced to pick up his first career. 

“When we play a doubleheader, it’s a lot of long baseball,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “Nine-inning doubleheaders are long but we need a lot of people to get in and get their innings in.  We pitched it pretty good today.

“Strikeouts come and we like them but it’s not necessarily how we want to pitch all the time. It just worked out in our favor. We don’t want to go for the strikeout every time. Ground balls are just as easy but the strikeout in the first game was a big part of why we got the victory.”

MTSU got a run right out of the gate on a first inning homer by second baseman Jonny Thomas but Lipscomb countered right back in the third when junior centerfielder Ricky Coleman came home on a single to right field by junior right fielder Zach Lowery.

The Bison then took their first lead of the contest in the fifth when senior left fielder M.L. Williams ripped a one-out double down the left field line ending the day for MTSU starter Jordan Cooper.  Williams would then score on the very next pitch as Lowery drilled a pitch through the right side giving Lipscomb a 2-1 advantage.

The one-run cushion held for the Bison until the seventh when Nunn got into trouble with two outs and Rehwinkel was brought in to put out the fire. The southpaw was rudely greeted by a double by Thomas that tied the game at two bringing MTSU third baseman Hank LaRue in to score.

The eighth proved to be the difference in the contest as Lipscomb senior catcher Logan Hostettler ripped a one-out double to set the table.  Forehand opted to pinch run freshman Joey Cecere and the move paid off when the newcomer scored on an RBI single by junior designated hitter Lee Wilson.

Rehwinkel then came back out in the ninth and sent three Blue Raiders down swinging to set the record for most strikeouts by the Bison pitching staff in a game and seal the win.

The nightcap was a pitcher’s duel from start to finish with the two teams combining for only five hits in the nine-inning affair.

MTSU’s Jonathan Sisco stymied the Lipscomb lineup from top to bottom through the first five innings allowing only two hits and a walk before being relieved after throwing 72 pitches.

It was only then that the Lipscomb offense could get on track as Wilson ledoff the sixth with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a Williams groundout. Lowery then drew the second walk of the stanza before a wild pitch allowed Wilson to score easily from third and put Lowery in scoring position.

That set the table for senior designated hitter Zak Messer and he delivered a 2-2 pitch right back up the box to give Lipscomb a 2-1 advantage.

The one-run cushion held until Messer’s next at bat in the eighth when the slugger blasted his second home run of the season over the fence in left centerfield to give Lipscomb a two-run lead.

“It seems like he always finds himself in the middle of the action,” said Forehand. “That homerun in the bottom of the eighth really helped us as far as a little insurance toward finishing the game up. A good night for him.”

Lipscomb senior reliever Dannie Strable then came out in the ninth and set the Blue Raiders down in order to earn the win after a near-perfect relief outing.  The veteran took the hill at the start of the fourth inning in relief of freshman starter Will Blalock and baffled the MTSU hitters the rest of the way.  Strable allowed only one walk and one hit-by-pitch in the final six innings of the contest to seal the sweep.

Along with Messer’s offensive output, the Bison got a lift from Lowery, who finished the day 4-for-8 at the dish with two RBI and a run scored.

The Bison continue home action this weekend hosting Kent State for a three-game series at Dugan Field.  First pitch on Friday is slated for 4 p.m.  Tickets are $5 for adults ages 13 and up and free for those 12 and under.