JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Lipscomb baseball team was unable to keep pace with the home-standing North Florida Ospreys falling 7-2 in Atlantic Sun Conference action Saturday at Dusty Rhodes Field.
“We did out hit North Florida today and while we are trying to come out of this slump, that is one positive,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “We played good on defense today, but we were just unable to get that timely hit like North Florida.”
Trying to even up the series, redshirt junior Hunter Brothers got the nod on the bump for the Bisons and got into some trouble in the second inning, walking the bases loaded before Ospreys left fielder Garrick Ferguson plated Corbin Olmstead to give UNF a brief 1-0 lead.
“When you don’t find the plate like that, you are going to get in trouble,” Forehand said. “We gave them too may free bases today and they took advantage of it. The game was really broken open on the two-out triple. Unfortunately we did not do the things we needed to do to solidify that.
“Hopefully tomorrow we will get some timely hits and more consistency from our pitchers. I am very confident we will get it back soon.”
The Bisons answered right back with a run of their own to knot the game at 1-1 in the top half of the third. Freshman third baseman Hunter Hanks hit a laser over the right fielder’s head for a standup double to lead off the inning. Shortstop Grant Massey smoked a 2-out, 1-1 pitch back up the middle to bring Hanks in from second.
“Hunter has played well this weekend,” Forehand said. “He gave us a lift in the third to get things going with that double to right. Every time we ask Hunter to do something, he come through no matter if it is a hit or a routine defensive play.”
UNF wasted little time in regaining the lead in the home half of the third. Right fielder Drew Weeks led off the frame with an infield single. Following a walk to Olmstead, Alex Bacon ripped a double down the left field line just out of Hanks’ reach to plate two and give the Ospreys a 3-1 lead after three.
North Florida struck again in the fourth with four tallies. Following a RBI-single from Weeks, first baseman Alex Merrit entered the box with the bases loaded and stung a bases-clearing triple just inside the first base bag to extend the Ospreys lead to 7-1.
Lipscomb tacked on one final run in the sixth. Left fielder Josh Lee and designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft got base knocks to put runners at the corners with two outs. Lee later scored on a Nick Miller wild pitch.
Andros took the loss for his first defeat of the season (4-1). He worked four-and-one-third innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits. He was credited with three walks and one punch out.
Brothers was lifted after he tossed four free passes in just one-and-two-thirds pitched. The junior gave up one earned run on one hit. He struck out three.
Ashcraft came on in relief and worked the last two innings, giving up just one hit.
Miller improved to 1-2 with the win. He allowed nine hits and two earned runs in six-and-two-thirds innings. He struck out five and walked one.
"Tomorrow we have to some out with intensity," Forehand said. "We do not want to leave here without a win. Today we were finally able to score some runs so now we just have to build on that for tomorrow."
The final game of the series will start at noon central on Sunday.