NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Propelled by a five-run fifth inning, the Lipscomb baseball team downed Xavier 11-1 on Saturday afternoon to take the series at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in nonconference action.
“We pride ourselves in our offense,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “We work on hitting every day and today it showed when these guys put the nose of the bat on the ball.
“This is a good baseball team we beat. It was a lot of fun to watch today and hopefully we can pick up with that tomorrow.”
The offensive attack was led by freshman centerfielder Michael Gigliotti, who was 2-for-5 at the plate including a triple and a two-run home run. Gigliotti also drove in a career high four runs and scored twice.
Xavier (6-16) drew first blood in the third with a run on a sacrifice fly to center.
The Bisons answered right back with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Junior catcher Chucky Vazquez drew a lead-off walk and then came around to score when senior second baseman Mike Korte reached on a throwing error. Two batters later Gigliotti ripped a triple down the left field line to plate Korte.
Senior leftfielder Jonathan Allison pushed the lead to 3-1 an inning later when he cranked a first-pitch solo home run into Lake Lipscomb beyond the right field fence.
The Bisons (13-6) blew the game open with five runs in the fifth. Vazquez was hit by a pitch before moving over on a sacrifice bunt from Korte. Two batters later Gigliotti brought home Vazquez on a fielder’s choice to second.
Senior shortstop Grant Massey and Allison laced back-to-back RBI doubles. Redshirt freshman right fielder Allan Hooker then hit a triple to right field to bring home Allison. Hooker crossed the plate on a wild pitch later in the inning.
Lipscomb tacked on three more insurance tallies in the eighth when Korte roped a triple down the right field line to plate Vazquez. Gigliotti rounded out the scoring when he turned on a 2-0 pitch and blasted a two-run shot just inside the right foul pole.
Senior southpaw Nick Andros improved to 3-0 on the year with the win. He tossed six innings and gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out five and walked one.
“I know we always talk about our starting pitching every time, but Nick gave us a great start again today,” Forehand said. “He gave us six strong innings before we handed it over to the bullpen.
“And all of the guys out of the bullpen had a little edge about them. I am proud of their performances and we can’t ask for anything more.”
Griffin Moore and Dalton Curtis came in and pitched the seventh and eighth frames. Moore allowed one hit and the duo combined for five punch outs.
There was a special moment in the ninth for Lipscomb as redshirt senior Will Blalock made his first appearance since March 1, 2014. Behind a standing ovation, Blalock locked in and closed the game out for the Bisons. He faced four batters and issued one walk.
“You get choked up when you see him running out on the field,” Forehand said. “He is the leader of our team and has been that guy for a long time here. It has been a long comeback for Will, but for the amount of time and work he has put in, it was great to see him back out there throwing today.”
Adam Hall (1-1) took the loss for Xavier after working 4.2 innings where he gave up two earned runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked one.
- Lipscomb improved to 8-0 all-time versus the Musketeers.
- The win marked the ninth straight victory at home for the Bisons, improving their record to 12-1 at Dugan Field this season.
- The Bisons pitching staff has combined for 17 K’s and 2 walks in the series.
- Saturday marked the first time since April 11, 2012 against UT-Martin that Lipscomb recorded three triples in a game.
- With two dingers, the Bisons now have four games this season with multi-home runs.
- The 11 runs scored were the second most of the season. They scored 13 in a win over La Salle.
- Gigliotti’s four RBI tied Allison for the most RBI in a game this season.
- Allison recorded his ninth multi-hit game of the year Saturday. Gigliotti has seven.
- Korte’s triple was just the second of his career.
- Vazquez scored a career high three times.
Lipscomb will look to get the series sweep on Sunday. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Junior Denton Norman will get the nod on the hill for the Bisons. He will enter the game 2-1 with a 4.71 ERA.
“We always talk about defending our home field,” Forehand said. “We just have to keep doing more of the same. Tomorrow we will come out and hopefully Norm can get us off to a great start. We need to bring the same energy tomorrow that we have had the last two days because Xavier is a good ball team and it’s going to take everything we have to get a third win against them.”