|May 11, 2014||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: NORMAN (6-5)||8.1||3||2||2||1||3|
|Loss: BAKER (2-4)||1.2||1||3||3||5||3|
JACKSONVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team used an all-around performance on Mother’s Day to knock off North Florida 5-2 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Dusty Rhodes Field Sunday.
“When you don’t play as well as you can play and then come back and play an outstanding game the next day, it really gives you some energy,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Sometimes you can play well and get beat, but today we played really well and got the win. We just need to build from this win and get back at it on Tuesday and into the rest of the season.”
Junior second baseman Mike Korte wasted little time in getting the Bisons excited when he made a highlight reel play in the home half of the first inning. With a UNF runner on third, Ospreys right fielder Drew Weeks lined a ball that Korte had to dive for in order to make the catch. After getting to his feet, the runner from third tried to be sneaky and take home, but Korte had other ideas, and gunned the runner out at home to end the inning.
“Mike played with an edge and a spark today, like he does every time we go out” Forehand said. “But today it seemed he was more focused and right on point. He really played an overall solid game.”
After seeing the Ospreys put crooked numbers on the scoreboard all weekend, the Bisons decided it was their turn.
Redshirt junior Josh Lee drew a leadoff walk to start the second frame. UNF’s freshman hurler Bryan Baker recorded back-to-back punch outs and then began to have trouble finding the strike zone. Baker gave free passes to Adam Lee and Mike Korte to load the bases for catcher Nick Rome.
After taking a ball to start the at-bat, the senior backstop roped a two-out, bases-clearing double down the left field line to give Lipscomb its first lead of the weekend at 3-0.
“It was a big hit for us because it allowed everyone to relax,” Forehand said. “After taking two tough losses this weekend, that hit really got us to relax and get going.”
Sophomore righty Denton Norman got the nod on the mound for the Bisons and was nothing short of stellar. Following a Kyle Brooks lead-off single in the first, Norman retired the next 11 batters before allowing a walk to third baseman Trent Higginbothem to start off the fifth.
“It was a great outing for Denton,” Forehand said. “He was locating his pitches to force North Florida to hit his pitches and that is what pitching is all about. He really had a great day for us.”
The Bisons (28-24, 15-9 A-Sun) gave Norman a couple of insurance tallies, plating a single run in the fourth and fifth innings.
Adam Lee singled through the left side of the infield to get things started in the fourth. Facing an 0-2 count, Korte ripped a slicing line drive that glanced off Garrick Ferguson’s glove in left. Adam Lee came around to score from first on the double while Korte was called out on a close play sliding in to third base.
In the fifth inning Josh Lee tagged a two-out double to left center field to set the table for Tyson Ashcraft. The junior designated hitter singled to left center to plate Josh Lee and give Lipscomb a 5-0 lead.
The Ospreys (22-26, 11-13 A-Sun) were held in check for the first five innings before Ferguson touched Norman for a solo shot in the sixth.
Norman kept his calm after the home run and retired the next nine Osprey hitters before pinging Brooks with one out in the ninth. Forehand immediately went to the bullpen for southpaw Jason Ziegler to shut the door.
“We tell our pitchers all the time that solo home runs aren’t going to beat you,” Forehand said. “After he gives up run, Denton comes right back and pitched the way he needed to in order for us to get the win and that is all we can ask.”
After Zeigler got his warm-up pitches in, lightning struck in the area and sent the game into a 59-minute delay.
When play resumed things got interesting. Ziegler allowed back-to-back hits to load the bases for Higginbothem. The third baseman smoked a grounder that bounced off Korte’s chest to allow a run to score and all runners to be safe.
The lefty settled down and got a 2-2 punch out and a fly out to right to end the game
Norman took his record to 6-5 with the win. He tossed eight-and-one-third innings and allowed just three hits and two runs on the day. He was credited with three punch outs and one walk. Norman recorded six 1-2-3 innings in the victory.
Ziegler threw two-thirds of an inning and allowed two hits with one strike out.
Baker dropped to 2-4 with the loss after working one-and-two-thirds. The freshman allowed three runs on one hit while walking five. He struck out three.
Lipscomb returns to action Tuesday when Austin Peay visits Ken Dugan Field at 6 p.m. for the final regular season midweek contest of the year.
Forehand had a message for all of the mothers in Bison Land after the win.
“It’s happy Mother’s Day today and I hope all of our players called their moms, being the good kids that they are,” Forehand said with a smile. “We want to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and we will see you on Tuesday.”