STARKVILLE, Miss. – Unable to convert key scoring opportunities, the Lipscomb baseball team dropped a 4-2 decision to Connecticut on Friday morning at Dudy Noble Field at Polk-Dement Stadium in Starkville.
Connecticut jumped on the board in the second inning scoring three runs with two outs to take an early lead. The Huskies strung together five hits in the frame against Lipscomb (4-5) senior starter Connor Sinclair (1-1).
The score held 3-0 until the fourth when the Bison would manufacture a run thanks to a leadoff walk by junior centerfielder Zach Lowery. A balk by Connecticut starter Jordan Tabakman moved Lowery into scoring position before Zak Messer ripped a ball to deep centerfield that allowed Lowery to move up to third. Lowery then came across the dish on an infield groundout by freshman designated hitter Griffin Moore.
The Bison threatened again in the fifth as senior catcher Logan Hostettler drew a leadoff walk and freshman second baseman Noah Chandler followed with an infield bunt single on a perfect bunt past the pitcher. The rally quickly flamed out however, as Hostettler was picked off second and the very next pitch senior left fielder M.L. Williams grounded into a double play to end the inning.
“You look at the stats sheet and you see we gave up 14 hits be we stranded 16 of their runners which kept us in the game,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “We had a 4-2 deficit. We had a chance but we squandered our one run-scoring opportunity with a pickoff at second but we gave ourselves a chance to win in the end.
“We’ve got to start swinging the bats a little bit better in some situations and I think we’ll be okay.”
Sinclair exited after the fifth with freshman righty Hunter Brothers taking over on the hill for Lipscomb. The Huskies greeted Brothers with back-to-back singles in the sixth that eventually led to a run when he issued a walk with the bases loaded to make it a 4-1 cushion.
Lipscomb answered right back in the sixth when junior right fielder Lee Wilson and Lowery ledoff the inning with back-to-back walks. Messer then hit a ball to third that was thrown into right field allowing Messer to reach and Wilson to score and make it a 4-2 game.
From that point on though, only two batters would reach for Lipscomb as Lowery drew a 3-2 hit-by-pitch in the eighth and freshman shortstop Joey Cecere walked in the ninth.
Sinclair took the loss on the hill allowing eight hits and three earned runs in five innings of work. The senior walked three and fanned three. Brothers worked three full innings allowing one earned run, the first in five appearances this season. Brothers gave up five hits, walked two and struck out three.
Junior righty Jordan Zelhart finished out the game for Lipscomb tossing the ninth allowing one hit and one walk, while sending one batter down swinging.
The Bison continue action in Starkville on Saturday taking on host Mississippi State at 11 a.m. at Dudy Noble Field.