DELAND, Fla. – Limited to only three hits on the morning, the Lipscomb baseball team dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 3 seed North Florida in the opening round of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship on Thursday morning at Melching Field in DeLand.
After the first three innings cruised by like the pace of NASCAR races at the nearby Daytona International Speedway, the Bisons (24-33) got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Senior right fielder Lee Wilson got the frame started with a single off of Osprey (39-17) starter Kyle Westwood before moving up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Taylor Stewart. Wilson would then score later in the inning when sophomore first baseman Tyson Ashcraft dropped a bunt down the third base line. The slow roller allowed Ashcraft to reach safely at first on a bang-bang play and Wilson raced around third and skirted across the plate.
“Westwood just kept dumping strikes in there and executed the whole game,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “We just weren’t getting good contact. He’s a very good pitcher and today he was sharp.
“We had an opportunity in the fourth when we got one. With one more hit we might could have opened it up by their guy made a great play on Zach’s ground ball. It’s unfortunate this one turned out the way it did but we don’t have long to think about it. We’ve got to get back and get the next one.”
The 1-0 cushion held for the Purple and Gold until the fifth when the Ospreys made the Bisons pay for a pair of defensive miscues. Following a leadoff single by Nick Karmeris, UNF opted to sacrifice him over but a solid bunt and a bad read found both runners safe. A subsequent sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position and that would prove to loom large as a dropped fly ball allowed both runners to score and give the Ospreys the 2-1 lead.
UNF went ahead to add four insurance tallies in the six behind four hits and a walk to put the game out of reach.
Westwood went the distance for the Ospreys allowing one earned run in a complete game effort. The righty fanned seven Bisons to pick up his fourth win of the season.
Lipscomb senior righthander Josh Cotham took the loss on the hill for the Bisons giving up nine hits and four earned runs. The veteran walked a pair and struck out three.
Due to the scheduling adjustment with Wednesday’s delays, the Bisons are set to take on No. 2 seed Florida Gulf Coast at 4 p.m. in an elimination game.