NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Behind a dominating two-hit shutout performance from redshirt-junior Hunter Brothers, the Lipscomb baseball team downed visiting Atlantic Sun Conference foe ETSU 5-0 on Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“We’ve seen flashes of this sometimes when Hunter pitches,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “He and coach (James) Ogden have prepared and prepared. Today was just one of those days where everything was working for him.
“He’s kept us in the games he’s supposed to but this is the outing we’ve been waiting for him to have. It was just a great performance by him today and I’m really proud of him.”
The Chapel Hill native faced just two above the minimum allowing a lone hit by pitch besides the pair of hits by the Buccaneers (14-16, 4-4 A-Sun) to notch his first career shutout and first complete game. Brothers also punched out a career best seven batters as the Bisons improve to 20-12 overall and 9-2 in A-Sun play.
“A lot of hard worked paid off this week,” said Brothers. “I got a lot of rest for the arm but the main thing was just to get strike one and to not walk anybody. I told a couple of guys on the team if I don’t walk anybody something is going to happen.”
The Bisons offense pounded out 10 hits on the afternoon led by a 4-for-4 performance by junior shortstop Grant Massey that raised his season average to .363.
The Bisons wasted little time getting things going as Massey lofted a fly ball into shallow right field that was blown away from ETSU right fielder Tyler Roach and when the dust had settled Massey was standing on third base with a triple. That set things up for senior right fielder Drew Adams to collect his 38th RBI of the year giving Lipscomb a 1-0 lead in the first as Massey scored.
The offense kept going in the second as sophomore third baseman Austin Sistrunk laced a leadoff double into the left center gap before coming home to score on a single up the middle by junior left fielder Josh Lee. Redshirt-sophomore first baseman Adam Lee followed with a walk before both runners moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Mike Korte.
That set the table for redshirt-freshman catcher Tyler Bethune, who lofted a ball into centerfield allowing Josh Lee to score from third for a sacrifice fly.
“Hunter being able to get an early lead and relax after we scored three runs in the first two innings gave him a chance to settle in and when he settled in he just ran with it,” said Forehand.
The score held at 3-0 in the Bisons favor until the sixth inning when the Purple and Gold pushed across a pair of insurance tallies. Josh Lee got the rally started with a leadoff double before scoring on an RBI single by Korte. A Bethune single moved Korte into scoring position before Massey brought him across the dish with a single to left to round out the scoring in the contest.
Jimmy Nesselt took the loss on the hill for the Bucs surrendering five earned runs and nine hits in five and one-third innings of work.
The 3-game series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Dugan Field as the Bisons and Bucs meet for the final time as conference foes in the regular season.