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Florida Gulf Coast (36-19, 19-7 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (29-26, 16-10 A-Sun)
5/16/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 0
Florida Gulf Coast (36-20, 19-8 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (30-26, 17-10 A-Sun)
5/16/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 0
Friday, May 16, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Needing a sweep to have any chance at being named the Atlantic Sun Conference champions, the Lipscomb baseball team gave a valiant effort, but came up just short against Florida Gulf Coast at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium Friday.
Due to the expected bad weather on Saturday, the two teams agreed to play a doubleheader Friday. The Bisons fell to FGCU in game one 3-2 before bouncing back for a decisive 7-1 victory in the rubber match.
“Anytime you have a chance at winning a championship, you don’t want to think about it,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “You want to play every pitch of every inning and I think that is what we did today. I thought we played really well today, but unfortunately we came up one run short.”
Lipscomb (30-26, 17-10 A-Sun) jumped on the board early in game one when senior right fielder Drew Adams knocked in junior shortstop Grant Massey in the first inning. Massey led of the frame with his team-leading 17th two-bagger of the season.
The Eagles (36-20, 19-8 A-Sun) tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth when left fielder Colton Bottomley blasted a mammoth solo shot over the shed in left field.
FGCU tacked on another in the fifth when Gage Morey scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch to a 2-1 lead.
Lipscomb responded in the home half of the frame with a run of its own. Left fielder Josh Lee singled with the bases loaded to plate Adam Lee and knot the game at 2-2.
With the game tied heading to the eighth, Eagles third baseman Zack Tillery delivered the knockout punch with a solo bomb of his own to give FGCU a 3-2 win and its fourth A-Sun Regular Season Title.
Redshirt junior hurler Hunter Brothers got the nod on the mound for the Bisons, but failed to record a decision after working five and two-thirds innings. He allowed two earned runs on four hits while striking out six and walking three.
Southpaw Nick Andros came on in relief and took the loss (4-2) after throwing three and one-third innings. He gave up one run on two hits, punched out three and walked two.
Brandy Anderson (5-2) picked up the win for FGCU after allowing two runs on six hits. He threw seven and one-third innings with six strike outs and four free passes.
Game two was much different for Lipscomb.
The Eagles scored their only run of the game in the top of the third when Michael Suchy lifted a ball to right field for a sacrifice fly that plated Jake Noll to give FGCU a 1-0 lead.
Lipscomb answered right back with a two runs in the bottom half of the third.
Junior centerfielder Jonathan Allison led off the frame with a double to right center. After Allison tagged up and advanced to third on a fly ball from Adams, Josh Lee banged an RBI-double to left center. Designated hitter Griffin Moore followed suit with a RBI-single to plate Lee and give the Bisons a 2-1 lead.
Little did Lipscomb know, that would be all the runs it would need.
“They see some excitement and momentum coming on,” Forehand said. “I knew they wouldn’t lie down after losing the first game and you have to be proud of that. It is the kind of team we have had all season long. I get excited when our team plays well like we did tonight and now we just have to take this into next week.”
Moore splashed the Eagles' hope when he touched lefty Nick Deckert for a lead-off home run into Lake Lipscomb to push the Bisons lead to 3-1 in the home half of the sixth.
Freshman third baseman Hunter Hanks came through with a single to right field in the seventh to plate Allison.
The onslaught continued in the bottom of the eighth when Massey laced a two-out single through the right side of the infield to set the table for Adams. The senior ripped a RBI-double to right center field in what would be his final at-bat at Dugan Field to score Massey.
Following a Josh Lee walk, Hanks knocked in Adams and Allison for his second and third RBIs of the game on a single to left.
“Hunter has been playing great since stepping in at third base,” Forehand said. “He and Mike Korte have been great spark plugs to our team the last week or two. They give us an added dimension and both really play the game with an edge. It is fun to watch.”
Hanks finished the weekend 4-for-13 at the dish with six RBI, a triple and a walk.
Denton Norman put together back-to-back quality starts after working six and two-thirds innings on the bump. He recorded a career-high nine punch outs and walked three. He gave up just one run on four hits to take his record to 7-5.
“Denton has been throwing great lately,” Forehand said. “He really came out and gave up a great performance and put us in a chance to win. I look forward to him carrying this over into the tournament.”
Southpaw Jason Ziegler came in on relief and threw the final two and one-third innings giving up just one hit and striking out two.
Jack English dropped to 3-4 for FGCU. He threw three complete innings and gave up two runs on five hits.
Another highlight from the day was Massey taking home the 2014 Dugan Award. In a brief ceremony between games, the Dugan family presented the shortstop with the prestigious award in front of his teammates, coaching staff and fans in attendance.
The Bisons wrapped up a record-breaking campaign by recording 30 regular season wins, the most in Lipscomb’s NCAA era. Lipscomb won seven-of-the nine league series and will enter the final day of the season in fourth in the A-Sun standings, just a half game back of Kennesaw State.
What seed the Bisons will get for next week’s A-Sun Tournament is still unknown. With a Mercer and Kennesaw State loss on Saturday, Lipscomb will wrap up the No. 2 seed. The Bisons will get the No. 3 seed if Mercer loses and KSU wins, but wins by Mercer and KSU, Lipscomb will fall to No. 4.
“We need to rest up and enjoy these wins,” Forehand said. “ We will get back on the practice field a couple more times before heading to Fort Myers, but we have to keep this up and continue playing like we have been all year long.
“As a coach you want to see your team playing with some confidence and momentum heading into a championship. It was fun to watch this weekend.”
The 2014 A-Sun Baseball Tournament will begin with the first game at 9 a.m. on Wednesday May, 21 in Fort Myers, Florida.