FT MYERS, Fla. – If it could go wrong early on for the Lipscomb baseball team it did on Saturday afternoon but the Bisons refused to quit in a 10-5 loss to host FGCU in the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at Swanson Stadium.
The Eagles (39-21) wasted no time jumping out to a touchdown lead over the Bisons (33-27) scoring three runs in the first and four in the second. Control problems plagued Lipscomb sophomore starter Denton Norman from the start and the Bison defense added to the problem booting three balls early to magnify the problem.
The Bisons would cut into the 7-run advantage in the top of the fourth taking advantage of a leadoff double by designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft. The junior would come home to score later in the frame when senior catcher Nick Rome delivered a 2-out single through the left side to get Lipscomb on the board.
FGCU would counter right back in the bottom of the frame when the Eagles used a leadoff walk, a double, a wild pitch and an infield groundout to push the lead to 9-1.
Another leadoff double in the sixth led to a run for the Bisons as freshman third baseman Hunter Hanks opened the frame by ripping a two bagger down the left-field line. Redshirt-freshman catcher Tyler Bethune then brought home Hanks with a single through the left side.
A leadoff double by FGCU’s Tyler Selesky led to the final run of the game for the Eagles in the bottom of the frame when he came home on a sacrifice fly to make it a 10-2 advantage.
The three-run ninth got started with a leadoff single by pinch hitter Griffin Moore as he drove a ball right back up the middle. Junior shortstop Grant Massey followed with a double to left before junior centerfielder Jonathan Allison walked to load the bases.
Ashcraft would then push the first run of the inning across with his second RBI of the afternoon as Moore came home. Hanks then drove in his second run of the game drawing a free pass with the bases full to make it a 10-4 game.
Left fielder Josh Lee then rounded out the scoring in the game in the next at bat with a groundout to short that plated Allison.
Norman took the loss on the hill for the Bisons giving up three earned runs, four hits, two walks and two hit batters in one and one-third innings of work. The highlight of the afternoon on the mound for the Bisons was Dalton Curtis, who tossed four and one-third innings of work allowing one earned run, five hits and two walks.
Nick Deckert earned the win tossing eight innings and 140 pitches. The southpaw gave up five earned runs, eight hits and a trio of walks while fanning five.
With the loss, the Bisons and Eagles will play an elimination game at 4 p.m. CDT with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship against Kennesaw State.