NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team wrapped up the 2013 regular season in style on Saturday afternoon taking both ends of a twinbill 16-6 and 4-3 over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. The pair of “Senior Day” wins finished off the three-game sweep of the Owls (26-28, 13-14 A-Sun) and earned the No. 6 seed for the Bisons (24-32, 13-14 A-Sun) in next week’s A-Sun Championship hosted in DeLand, Fla.
“Last year, we were on the other end of the momentum swing,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “This year winning eight out of our last nine conference games, I feel like we’re going into the tournament with a little excitement and on fire a little bit.
“It was a great game today. The bullpen did a great job and we did a nice job of getting some timely hits. Our seniors are pretty special and I’m glad they went out this way today.”
Game one saw the get behind 2-0 right out of the gate as Kennesaw State wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. The Bisons answered right back with an eight-run bottom of the frame chasing KSU starter Kevin Kyle before the righty could even post an out on the scoreboard.
Seniors Lee Wilson and Taylor Stewart opened the stanza with back-to-back singles before junior Drew Adams laced a double down the left field line that scored Wilson to open the scoring for LU. Senior Aaron Sandoval followed with a single through the right side bringing home both Stewart and Adams as Lipscomb to a 3-2 advantage.
Junior Chad Shannon then dug in at the plate and launched his fourth home run of the season to put the Bisons up 6-2 before senior Zack Lowery followed with a solo shot to chase Kyle from the game. Freshman Austin Sistrunk kept the hit parade going with a one-out single before Wilson walked and Stewart singled to load the bases for Adams, who drove in his second run of the inning after getting beaned.
Despite trailing 8-2 early, the Owls refused to go away and used a four-run fourth inning to make it a two-run game again. The Bisons quickly answered in the next half inning as Lowery singled to right driving in Sandoval, who opened the inning with a leadoff double.
From that point forward, it would be all Bisons the rest of the way as Adams launched a three-run bomb in the fifth to make it a 12-6 lead for LU before Shannon singled to drive in Sandoval. Lipscomb added a run in the seventh as sophomore Tyson Ashcraft drove in Adams, who was beaned for the second time in the game and moved into scoring position on a Sandoval groundout.
Leading 14-6, it would Sistrunk who would put an end to the contest in the eighth as the rookie launched the fourth homer of the game for the Bisons. With senior Gray Hutchinson on base, the 10-run rule was invoked with the A-Sun doubleheader rule in affect due to Friday’s rainout.
Senior southpaw Blake Fonfara earned the win on the hill tossing two innings of relief. Fonfara issued just one walk and notched one strikeout to improve to 2-0.
With the winner finishing sixth in the A-Sun standings, game two was a much more tightly contested contest but clutch hitting by the Bisons would earn the higher see for the Purple and Gold.
The Owls took advantage of a pair of Lipscomb miscues in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Lipscomb would answer back in the third inning when Shannon singled home Sistrunk to tie the game 1-1.
Lowery would then put the Bisons out in front in the next stanza with his second solo shot of the day and 10th of the season to make it a 2-1 game.
Command issues by the Lipscomb pitching staff would lead to the Owls pushing across two runs in the fifth to regain the lead behind a pair of hit-by-pitches. Lipscomb would not be down for long however as the Bisons answered right back in the bottom of the fifth cashing in on two Kennesaw State errors to retake the lead. The final run came across the plate when Shannon hit a drive into centerfield and Kennesaw State centerfielder Bo Way fired a laser to the plate that reached home in time to get pinch runner Geordie Carlson but KSU catcher Max Pentecost dropped the throw and Carlson slid in safe.
Fonfara also claimed the win in game two working one third of an inning without allowing a run. Senior Tyler Burstrom allowing one walk in one inning of work.
The Bisons will head to Deland, Fla. for the A-Sun Championship next week. Play gets underway on Wednesday night as Lipscomb takes on No. 3 North Florida. The game will air live for free on http://www.asun.tv