HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Rain shortened the game after seven innings but the skies were bright for the Lipscomb baseball team as the Bisons claimed an 11-6 Atlantic Sun Conference over homestanding Northern Kentucky to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon at Bill Aker Complex at Friendship Field in Highland Heights, Ky.
“Early on we had a couple of miscues that gave them some runs and we could have gotten Will out of some jams,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “This is just one of those games that you just have to fight through. I think that’s exactly what Will did.
“A sweep anywhere is good but to get one on the road when you really need it at this point of the season is great. Hopefully, this will give us some momentum going into the game on Tuesday and the series at Jacksonville next weekend.”
After the Norse (8-40, 3-18 A-Sun) opened the game with a run in the bottom of the first, the Bisons (18-30, 8-13 A-Sun) answered right back in the top of the second with a tally. Senior centerfielder Zack Lowery got things started with a one-out single before fellow senior Gray Hutchinson moved Lowery into scoring position with a single back up the middle. That set the table for freshman second baseman Austin Sistrunk and the rookie delivered with a single that followed Hutchinson’s path back through the heart of the infield that plated Lowery.
With less than ideal footing conditions, Lipscomb redshirt sophomore starter Will Blalock struggled with his control in the bottom of the second issuing three free passes to the Norse to load the bases with one out. A potential double play ball proved costly for the Bisons as the second half of the throw went wide of the bag at first and NKU retook the lead as two runners came across the dish.
Lipscomb’s offense continued the attack in the third as junior designated hitter Drew Adams opened the frame with an infield single to shortstop before senior shortstop Aaron Sandoval walked to put two aboard for the Purple and Gold. A one-out single by junior left fielder Chad Shannon would bring Adams home to score before Hutchinson would collect his second hit of the afternoon that brought home two runs and put Lipscomb out in front 4-3.
The offensive attack continued in the fourth as the Bisons pushed across four runs with two outs to take a five run lead. Adams got things started with a one-out walk before moving up to second on a wild pitch before taking third on a fly ball to right by Sandoval. Sophomore first baseman Tyson Ashcraft made it a two-run advantage with a looping single to centerfield.
An infield single by Shannon moved Ashcraft into scoring position and then Lowery loaded the bases by drawing a four-pitch walk. Sistrunk and senior right fielder Lee Wilson both copied Lowery and drew free passes bringing two more runs came across the plate before the Norse could get out of the jam.
The 8-3 score held until the sixth when Lipscomb again added a pair of two-out runs when Adams singled back up the middle bringing Hutchinson and Wilson home to score.
The Norse answered with a trio of runs in the bottom of the fame to chase Blalock from the game as senior Jordan Zelhart came get the Bisons out of the jam. Lipscomb added a run in the seventh when Lowery tripled bringing Ashcraft across the plate and rounding out the scoring.
Blalock picked up the win on the hill giving up five earned runs in six innings of work to pick up his first win of the season. The righty gave up 10 hits and five walks while fanning three.
The sweep is the first three-game road sweep since the 2007 season.
Lipscomb returns home on Tuesday night hosting UT-Martin at 6 p.m. at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. The game will be “Military Night” with all active duty servicemen, veterans and their families receiving complimentary admission. The Bisons will also wear special camouflage hats that will be sold with all proceeds going to the Lipscomb “Yellow Ribbon Program” that allows veterans to go to school free of charge.