March 24, 2012123456789RHE
Win: FONFARA (2-3) 5.021133
Loss: LOVE (2-3) 5.162246
MESSER (LIP) 433411
Bats help Bison cage Bears
Saturday, March 24, 2012
By Mark McGee
Bats help Bison cage Bears

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There is nothing like a plan that works.

Such was the case for the Lipscomb Bison Saturday afternoon in an 11-3 win over Mercer in an Atlantic Sun Conference game at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.

The Bison, 9-14, 2-3 in the A-Sun, will go for the sweep of the series Sunday at 1 p.m. with Josh Cotham, 1-2, 2.63 earned run average, on the mound. Mercer, 16-9, 1-4 in the conference, will counter with David Randall, 1-2, 2.45 ERA.

“Mercer is always a good team,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “We played a pretty good game. I’m proud of our guys recognizing we were playing a good team and that we needed to play our best game.

“We gave up five hits through nine innings to a team whose offensive numbers are really, really good. That’s a plus for us.”

The Bison pounded out 16 hits including a three-run home run by Zak Messer to left center and a two-run homer by Aaron Sandoval to left. Messer also added a triple that drove in a run giving him a game-high four RBI.

Ricky Coleman’s double to right center in the second home the first run of the game for the Bison. Zach Lowery added a pair of RBI singles and stole a pair of bases. M.L. Williams finished with three hits.

Assistant coach Chris Collins had spent the week working with the way hitters were approaching each at bat and apparently they have been listening.

“Timely hitting is what we had,” Forehand said. “Coach Collins had talked about what we needed to do to have quality at bats. Our guys have really bought into what they need to do.

“They have to pick out the pitch they are going to get in a certain situation. We have talked a lot about where those pitches are going to be. It has taken awhile for us to get on to that.”

Blake Fonfara, 2-3, picked up the win for the Bison. He threw five innings and gave up one run, two hits and three walks while striking out three.

“This was the first start from Blake that reminded me of last year,” Lipscomb pitching coach Tyler Shrout said. “We asked him to keep us in the ballgame and that is what he did.

“He had a command of the strike zone. He trusted his stuff and threw strikes.”

 Davey Hackett pitched two shut-out innings, allowing one hit and walking one while also striking out three. Hunter Brothers threw one-third of an inning and was touched for two hits and one run. He struck out one and walked one.

Hackett opened the sixth in order to face Mercer’s Nick Backlund, one of the top hitters in the A-Sun.

“Backlund is a top three hitter in the conference and had two hits against Blake so we played match-up and it worked out for us,” Shrout said. “Davey did a great job coming in.”

 Dannie Strable pitched the final 1.2 innings and earned his first save of the season. He walked two and allowed a run, but his biggest accomplishment of the game was forcing Mercer’s Derrick Workman into a double play to end the eighth inning.

The Bison pitchers held Mercer to only five hits, but Shrout is concerned that seven Mercer batters reached base on walks.

“A win is a win, but we aren’t always going to have 11 runs, so seven walks is something we have to work on,” Shrout said. “Our pitchers have great stuff. They have to throw strikes.”

Mercer starter Brandon Love, 2-3, was credited with the loss. Mercer sent a total of seven pitchers to the mound.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.