MARTIN, Tenn. – Sometimes one play can make all the difference and it did Tuesday night at Lipscomb baseball dropped a tough 4-3 non-conference decision to UT Martin at Skyhawk Park in Martin, Tenn.
A drama-filled fourth inning put the Skyhawks out in front first as UT Martin took a 3-0 lead on a three-run blast by Phil Sorensen. The excitement started right away in the frame as UTM’s Jordan Owen led off the inning with a grounder to Lipscomb junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval who fired on to freshman first baseman Griffin Moore. Owen was initially called out as Griffin appeared to apply the tag but after Skyhawk skipper Bubba Cates stormed out of the dugout and argued the call, it was changed and Owen ruled safe.
That would prove to be costly as Owen would come home to score two batters later when Sorensen would hit the homer.
“We got a call that didn’t go our way and then we have a walk and a 1-2 count and the guy hit a good pitch,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “An error and a walk led to a three-run home run and a pinch-hit single that sneaks down the line but that’s baseball. They won it and we didn’t.”
Still fired up from the previous inning, the Bison would cut right into the lead with a two-run stanza to make it a 3-2 contest. Junior centerfielder Zach Lowery got things going with a single up the middle and then crossed one batter later when Sandoval ripped a double off the base of the fence. Freshman Tyson Ashcraft kept the rally going by drawing a walk before junior catcher Taylor Stewart moved both runners into scoring position with a perfect sacrifice bunt.
That set the table for senior designated hitter Shawn Mehring and the veteran delivered with a single to left that brought Sandoval home to score making it a 3-2 game.
The Skyhawks would hold on to the one-run advantage until the seventh inning when the Bison would draw even thanks to a defensive miscue. Ashcraft got things going with a one-out single and then stole second to get into scoring position before moving up to third on a Stewart groundout. Senior right fielder Lee Wilson then hit a ball to third that was dropped allowing Ashcraft to score tying the game 3-3.
The tie lasted only until the eighth when UT Martin used a leadoff walk to manufacture a run.
Lipscomb junior Davey Hackett took the loss on the hill for Lipscomb. The righty went one and one thirds innings allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk. Redshirt freshman Will Blalock had a solid start for the Bison going a season best six innings giving up two earned runs and five hits while fanning six and walking a pair.
Dan Tobik got the win in relief for the Skyhawks shutting the Bison down for two and one-thirds innings striking out six and allowing only one hit-by-pitch.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Tobik,” said Forehand. “He goes two and a third innings has six strikeouts. He owned it.”
The Bison continue road action on Wednesday night with a 6 p.m. contest against Evansville in Evansville, Ind.