NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Looking to avenge a 4-3 loss last month at UT Martin, the Lipscomb baseball team plated seven runs in the first three innings en route to routing the Skyhawks 15-4 on Wednesday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
The Skyhawks (9-23) threatened right out of the gate loading the bases with no outs in the first on Lipscomb (16-17) freshman starter Will Blalock (1-1) but the righty got out of the jam. The Bisons then went to work in the bottom of the frame as senior designated hitter M.L. Williams lifted a one-out single to left before fellow senior Zak Messer drilled his team-best 13th double of the season to open the scoring.
A balk by UT Martin southpaw Brendan Lozupone (0-4) moved Messer up to third before coming home on a groundout to short by junior centerfielder Zach Lowery to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead.
“You like those games where you get a lot of people in the game,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “Unfortunately, we haven’t had a lot of those to be able to do that. So we got some guys off the bench with a chance to get a little time on the field. That’s always good.”
Lipscomb kept the momentum going in the second as junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval led off the stanza with a single to left and then swiped second to move into scoring position. A foul out to right field by junior left fielder Ricky Williams moved Sandoval 90 feet from home plate before a Logan Hostettler sacrifice fly to right made it a 3-0 lead for LU.
The hit parade continued in the third as senior right fielder Shawn Mehring launched a triple to center field to kick off the inning. Mehring and Messer, who had walked then both came across the dish on the second triple of the frame by freshman third baseman Tyson Ashcraft. A single to right by Sandoval made it a 6-0 lead before he advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored himself on a Coleman single making it a touchdown lead for the Bisons.
UT Martin opened their scoring with a run in the fourth as Wade Collins hit a home run off Blalock over the right field fence. Lipscomb answered right back with a three-run fifth to 10-1 advantage. Lowery opened the inning with a single through the right side and swiped second before Ashcraft drew a walk.
Sandoval then reached on a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by the Skyhawks setting the table for Coleman, who ripped the third triple of the night for the home team and clearing the bases. Coleman’s triple tied the school record for team triples in a game, a feat the Bisons have accomplished two other times.
The Skyhawks plated their second run of the night in the sixth off junior reliever Chris Nunn, who took over for Blalock at the start of the inning but LU answered right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on a 2-RBI double by Lowery to make it 12-2.
UT Martin went on to score two more off Nunn in the seventh to cut the lead back to single digits but the Bisons answered in the eighth with a three-run stanza. Junior catcher Anthony Difelice got things going reaching on a UT Martin error before junior third baseman Gray Hutchinson launched his first home run as a Bison giving LU a 14-4 advantage. Freshman shortstop Joey Cecere would round out the scoring in the contest after drawing a walk, moving up to second on a passed ball and then scoring on an RBI single to right by freshman first baseman Griffin Moore.
Blalock picked up the win on the hill going five innings allowing one earned run, four hits and a pair of walks. Blalock notched six strikeouts which combined with five by Nunn and five more from junior Davey Hackett tied the Lipscomb single game record of 16 set earlier this season against Middle Tennessee.
Wrapping up a seven-game homestand, the Bisons hit the road this weekend to Jacksonville, Fla., taking on North Florida in a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series beginning on Friday night at 5 p.m.