March 31, 2012123456789RHE
Win: HACKETT (1-1) 2.000042
Loss: CARTER (0-2) 2.123332
PRATT (ETSU) 411111
LOWERY (LIP) 402300
Bison put claim on series with win over ETSU
Saturday, March 31, 2012
By Mark McGee
Bison put claim on series with win over ETSU

The late, great Ted Williams stressed that 50 percent of hitting is from the neck up.

Coach Jeff Forehand and assistant coach Chris Collins have apparently convinced the Lipscomb Bison that the mental part of hitting cannot be stressed enough. Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium the Bison pounded out 11 hits, six for extra bases, in a 7-4 win over East Tennessee State. Eight of the nine starters had at least one hit.

“Coach Collins has been working with them and we have been talking all the time about the proper approach,” Forehand said. “When we have the right approach mentally we have good hitters.

“When you have a good approach mentally that translates into hitting the ball on the nose. It doesn’t necessarily translate into doubles and home runs, but it allows you to square the ball up and get it in the gaps.”

It was the fifth straight Atlantic Sun Conference win for the Bison, 12-16 overall, 5-3 in the conference. East Tennessee State slipped to 14-11, 3-5 in the A-Sun.

Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. the Bison will be seeking their second straight A-Sun series sweep. Right-hander Josh Cotham, 1-2, 3.31 ERA, will start for Lipscomb. Left-hander Jake Long, 2-1, 2.21 ERA, will be on the mound for ETSU.

The last time Lipscomb won six straight A-Sun games was in 2009 with sweeps of USC Upstate and Stetson.

Lipscomb spotted ETSU a 2-0 first inning lead on back-to-back home runs by Clinton Freeman and Dylan Pratt.

In the third, the Bison tied the game at 2-2 on back-to-back solo home runs by Logan Hostettler and Ricky Coleman, both over the left field fence. It was the first home run of the season for each batter.

ETSU answered with two runs in the fourth.

The biggest hit for Lipscomb was a double to left center by Zach Lowery in the fifth that brought home three runs for a 5-4 Lipscomb lead.

Also adding to the extra base total for Lipscomb were Tyson Ashcraft with a pair of doubles and a triple by Aaron Sandoval, his first of the season, to right center in the second.

“They are using the whole field,” Forehand said. “In certain situations they know what they are looking for and they are making solid contact when they get it. I know this is something coach Collins is really proud of.”

The Bison added another run in the eighth.

“We had big plays and big hits,” Forehand said. “That is what wins games for you.

“If you are prepared when the moment comes up at the plate because you have done your homework and you know what you are trying to do when you go up there makes it a lot easier than a free lance approach. You don’t want to go up there free swinging and hope it happens.”

Left-hander Blake Fonfara started for the Bison but left after giving up five hits and four runs, two earned in four innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Lipscomb used three relief pitchers. They combined to walk five batters and strike out two, but did not allow a hit or a run in the final five innings. Davey Hackett, who pitched two innings, walked four and struck out two, to get the win, evening his record at 1-1.

Jordan Zelhart threw 1.2 innings and walked one. Hunter Brothers closed out the game with 1.1 innings for his first collegiate save.

“I’m proud of how way we played,” Forehand said. “The bullpen was fantastic in picking Blake up.

“Hackett came in and had a big strikeout to end the sixth inning. Zelhart did a great job and Hunter finished it up.”

Derek Bushey started for ETSU and left after two innings. Will Carter and Clinton Freeman came on in relief. Carter, pitched 2.1 innings, picked up the loss. He is 0-2.

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