NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It seems like all the Lipscomb baseball team needed to end streak of bad luck in black was a little Josh Cotham, as the senior righty combined with the Bison bullpen to hold Kennesaw State to one run on Saturday afternoon clinching the Atlantic Sun Conference series with a 2-1 win at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
“Any series win is big but when you do it against a team of Kennesaw State’s caliber is huge,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “They’re going to be a top-tier team in our league all year long.”
Coming into the game 0-9 when wearing black hats, Cotham (3-2) was able to snap the curse by getting timely outs as the veteran went six and one-thirds innings before the Lipscomb (15-17, 8-4 A-Sun) bullpen shut Kennesaw State (19-14, 8-4 A-Sun) down the rest of the way.
“Cotham gave us such a great start and our bullpen did exactly what we had drawn up for them to be able to do. “
The right-hander allowed five Owl hits and the only run came on a solo home run by KSU catcher Ronnie Freeman in the top of the seventh. The veteran sent six runners down swinging.
Key among those strikeouts were a pair with a runner on first with one out that turned into double plays as junior catcher Taylor Stewart nabbed a pair of base runners as part of three total caught stealing on the afternoon.
“Those are big plays and when they’re made in those situations it just gives the team such a lift.”
Both runs for the Bison came in the bottom of the third as freshman third baseman Tyson Ashcraft got it started as he launched his first collegiate home run with a towering shot over the 400 foot sign in straight-away centerfield to lead off the inning. The Purple and Gold then pushed across what would eventually be the game-winning run on an RBI double by senior left fielder M.L. Williams that scored Stewart, who had singled earlier in the frame.
That would be all the scoring Lipscomb would need as Cotham cruised along until the seventh when junior Tyler Burstrom came on and worked two thirds of an inning. Burstrom then gave way to Rehwinkel to start the eighth and the senior was perfect through one and one-thirds innings after earning the win in relief on Friday against the Owls.
Redshirt-freshman Hunter Brothers then got the final two outs of the ninth as Coach Forehand opted for the right-on-right matchup at the plate and Brothers got the job done getting a strikeout and a grounder to second base to earn his second save of the season.
Kevin Kyle (0-3) took the loss for Kennesaw State going seven and one-thirds innings allowing two earned runs, six hits and one walk while fanning six.
The Bison continue home play on Wednesday hosting UT Martin in a non-conference tilt at 6 p.m. at Dugan Field.