NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Following an offensive explosion on Saturday, the Lipscomb baseball team ran into a buzz saw Sunday against Xavier and dropped the series finale 5-1 at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
Xavier’s Trent Astle was the story of the game as the lefty struck out 10 batters in a complete-game effort. The sophomore allowed just six hits on the day and did not give up a run until the ninth.
“You have to start with Xavier’s pitcher, he was outstanding today,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said emphatically. “He did a great job today of mixing pitches and recorded because of that, he got 24 of the 27 outs on popups and strikeouts.
“We have to learn to make adjustments, but his ability to change speeds kept our hitters off-balanced all day. We are giving him all of the credit in the world, because he pitched a fantastic game.”
Astle allowed only one Bison to reach third base all game, while just three reached second.
First baseman Ethan Schmidt put the Musketeers on the board with a leadoff home run in the second frame while a sacrifice fly from Rylan Bannon plated another to give Xavier (7-16) the early 2-0 lead.
A single in the fifth and a homer and double in the ninth led to three more runs for the Musketeers to take a 5-0 lead.
Lipscomb (13-7) finally got something going in the final stanza when senior shortstop Grant Massey ripped a one-out single through the left side of the infield, his third hit of the day. Senior left fielder Jonathan Allison followed with a single to right. Sophomore third baseman Hunter Hanks plated the lone run of the day for the Bisons on a fielder’s choice-error that tipped off the end of the bat to the pitcher, but Astle could not handle it cleanly and Massey crossed the dish.
Junior Denton Norman took the loss for Lipscomb giving up three earned runs and seven hits in seven innings of work while fanning four.
Astle improved to 1-3 on the year and did not allow a walk in the win.
Sophomore southpaw John Pryor and junior transfer Kyle Weller made appearances out of the pen. Pryor gave up two runs on four hits in 1.2 innings of work with one strike out. Weller faced just one batter and got him to fly out to centerfield.
Massey accounted for half of Lipscomb’s offense as he went 3-for-4 at the plate and one run scored.
“Grant made the necessary adjustments and everyone else did not,” Forehand said. “It was good to see him give us some production. His only out of the day came on a run-producing opportunity that was hit to deep left centerfield, but their guy made the play. It was a good offensive performance from him, but it is all negated when their guy throws such a good game.”
- Lipscomb now leads the all-time series 8-1 versus Xavier.
- The loss was the first weekend defeat at home this season for Lipscomb as it had swept its previous three weekend home series'. The Bisons are now 12-2 at "The Doog" this season.
- Sunday was Massey’s third game this season and second of the weekend where he recorded three hits. He now has seven multi-hit games on the year.
- He improved his team-leading hit streak to eight games and on-base streak to 10.
- Lipscomb and Xavier combined for 15 strikeouts and zero walks. It was the first game this season that the Bisons did not draw a walk at the plate, and the third game where the pitching staff did not issue a free pass.
- Xavier’s two home runs marked the first time Lipscomb allowed multiple home runs in a game this year. It had only allowed four all season entering Sunday.
The Bisons continue home action Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Dugan Field against rival Belmont in the first meeting of the season between the two schools.
“Every time we play Belmont it always seems to be a battle,” Forehand said. “We would like to be coming off a win, but at least we were still able to win the series. Hopefully we can build on that and not let this loss stay with us too long.”