NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Unable to overcome allowing a six-run top of the first, the Lipscomb baseball team dropped a 13-9 decision to San Diego on Thursday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
Coming into the game hitting .346 as a team, the hot-hitting Toreros (10-3) wasted no time in chasing Lipscomb (4-9) senior southpaw Benjamin Johnson from the game. San Diego got a pair of singles and back-to-back walks to open the scoring with a run before shortstop Andrew Daniel hit a deep fly over the left field wall for a grand slam making a 5-0 lead right out of the gate.
Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand immediately went to the bullpen bringing on junior sidearmer Jordan Zelhart but the righty was rudely greeted by USD catcher Dillon Haupt, who launched a ball deep over the left field wall for a 6-0 advantage.
“We (you) come out in the first frame and give up a six spot, it’s hard to bounce back from but we did,” said Forehand. “We played a solid eight innings but unfortunately, the game goes nine.
“There were a lot of good things. I thought our bullpen was effective again today and kept us in the game. I was proud of the team for the way we fought back. It was just a tough first frame.”
The Bison answered with a run in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-out rally when senior second baseman Zak Messer doubled to score senior designated hitter M.L. Williams, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, from first.
San Diego countered right back with a two-out rally of their own in the second as the Toreros hit back-to-back doubles to push across a tally. The rally could have been worse had it not been for a laser throw from Lipscomb left fielder Ricky Williams that nailed San Diego’s Connor Joe at the plate for the inning’s third out.
Lipscomb managed to cut the 7-1 advantage down to three runs in the fourth thanks to a three-run frame. Freshman first baseman Griffin Moore got things started with a leadoff single before moving up to third on a passed ball and a single by junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval. A groundout by junior third baseman Gray Hutchinson moved Sandoval into scoring position before junior catcher Taylor Stewart brought both runners home to score on a 2-RBI single to right that found Stewart at second on the throw.
A single by Coleman gave the Bison runners on the corners and would setup the next run as Coleman was caught leaning at first and had to take off for second base. The throw trying to nail the veteran at second went off the San Diego shortstop’s glove into left field and would allow Stewart to score easily from third and for Coleman to return to first.
Back within three runs of the lead, the Bison needed to keep the momentum going but San Diego fired right back with a four-run fifth as freshman reliever Austin Schubert ran into trouble and junior reliever Tyler Burstrom could not get Lipscomb out of the jam.
Lipscomb kept chipping away however adding one in the sixth on a Messer’s third home run of the year and then two more in the sixth on an RBI single by junior right fielder Lee Wilson and a bases-loaded walk by junior centerfielder Zach Lowery to make it an 11-8 affair.
After San Diego tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth, the Bison responded with one run in the last frame after Coleman hit a one-out triple and Wilson drove him in with an RBI single through the right side.
Johnson (0-2) took the loss for the Bison allowing five earned runs, two walks and three hits in no official innings of work. Ryan Keller (1-0) earned the win throwing two-thirds of an inning and allowing only one walk. Michael Wagner notched his seventh save of the season going the final two innings for USD allowing two hits and one earned run, while fanning three Bison.
The two clubs battle again on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Dugan Field.