|March 24, 2015||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: WELLER (2-0)||1.1||1||0||0||1||1|
|Loss: KINNEY (0-2)||1.2||0||1||0||2||1|
|March 25, 2015||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: PUCKETT (1-0)||9.0||6||1||1||0||4|
|Loss: Slatton (1-5)||3.2||5||6||3||1||3|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After surrendering a seven-run lead in the eighth inning it would have been easy for the Lipscomb baseball team to roll over and give up on the game. But that is not what this team is about.
Instead the Bisons scrapped and found a way to score the winning run in the ninth to beat Belmont 10-9 in the Battle of the Boulevard Tuesday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“Belmont is a very good team,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “They had won nine in a row coming in so we knew this was going to be a tough matchup for us. I thought we played really well offensively and was excited when we built that big lead, but I have to tip my hat to Belmont.
“The thing I am most proud about our team is that we didn’t give up when we very easily could have after giving up such a big lead. Our guys are on a mission and they found a way to win.”
The top of the lineup was the story for Lipscomb (14-7) as the one through three hitters combined for seven hits, five runs and three RBI. Senior leftfielder Jonathan Allison led the trio with a 3-for-4 night at the dish with two runs scored. He also knocked in a single run in each of his first three at-bats of the night to sustain the Bisons offense.
“Johnny had a great game for us,” Forehand said. “It’s not easy to do the things he does, although sometimes he makes it look easy. With Gigs (Michael Gigliotti) and Grant (Massey) getting on base in front of him, he is going to continue to get those RBI opportunities. We expect this kind of production from him and we need to continue to keep building off of what the top of our lineup can do for us offensively.”
Redshirt junior Jaesung Hwang got the nod on the hill for the Bisons and quickly surrendered two runs in the top of the first in front of almost 600 fans at “The Doog”.
The Bruins (12-9) took advantage of a leadoff single and two hit by pitches when shortstop Tyler Walsh knocked in the first run on a sacrifice fly and Nick Egli followed with a RBI single to left field.
However, feeding off the energy of the fans, Lipscomb responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the frame to grab its first lead of the night.
Gigliotti led off the stanza with his ninth bunt single of the season. After moving into scoring position on a groundout, Gigliotti came around to score on an infield single by Allison.
Sophomore third baseman Hunter Hanks then ripped a double into right center to bring around Allison. A fielding error by Belmont’s shortstop allowed Hanks to cross the plate and give the Bisons a 3-2 lead.
Allison struck again in the second inning with a single, this time with the bases loaded. Senior second baseman Mike Korte scored on the play, but while trying to stretch the lead, Adam Lee was gunned down at the plate from right field. Allison then got caught between the bags while attempting to swipe second, but a throw down allowed Gigliotti to cross the dish as the throw back home was not in time and Lipscomb took a 5-2 advantage.
The Purple and Gold scored two more in the fourth and seventh innings to extend the lead to 9-2.
With the game seemingly in hand the Bisons went to sophomore John Pryor and freshman Jeffrey Passantino out of the bullpen in the sixth and the duo worked efficiently over the next two frames before running into trouble in the eighth.
Belmont brought 13 batters to the plate in the frame and scored seven runs on six hits to knot the game at 9-9. The Bisons also issued two walks and one hit by pitch in the stanza.
Down to its final two outs in the ninth, Forehand pinch-hit redshirt senior Josh Lee and the move paid off as he drew a one-out walk. Hanks then reached base on an errant throw by the shortstop and freshman back stop Jeffrey Crisan, after working to a 1-1 count, was intentionally walked on the next three pitches to load the bases for freshman designated hitter Tyler Brown.
Facing an 0-2 count, Brown hit a chopper to the first baseman who came home for the force out at the plate, but Belmont’s Alec Diamond, trying for the double play at first, threw the ball into right field allowing Hanks to come around from second and swipe the plate for the game-winning tally.
“Coach Jarvis is a good friend of mine and I have a lot of respect for Belmont,” Forehand said. “They have gotten the best of us lately, but any win is a good win. It was disappointing in how we lost the lead, but also encouraging how we didn’t give up and were able to come back and push a run across in the ninth.”
Hwang did not factor into the decision after working five innings for Lipscomb on the bump giving up two runs on two hits. He punched out four and walked two.
Junior college transfer Kyle Weller got the win after working the final 1.1 innings. He allowed just one hit with one strikeout and one walk. He improved to 2-0 on the year.
Matthew Kinney (0-2) took the loss for Belmont. He tossed the final 1.2 frames surrendering one unearned run on no hits. He walked two and struck out one.
- Lipscomb now trails the all-time series with Belmont 21-17. The win halted a 3-game losing skid to the Bruins. The last win over Belmont at Dugan Field was a 5-3 decision on April 9, 2013.
- The win improves the Purple and Gold to 13-2 at home this season.
- Allison leads the team and ranks eighth in the A-Sun with 23 RBI on the year.
- He now has a team-leading 10 multi-hit and seven multi-RBI games.
- Massey extended his hitting streak to nine games and his on-base streak to 11.
- Tuesday marked the third game this season that Lipscomb has scored 10-plus runs.
- The Bisons have now recorded at least nine hits in 11 games this season. They are 10-1 in those contests.
- The eight walks drawn and three hit by pitches taken are season highs for Lipscomb.
- Lipscomb’s pitching staff combined for a season high 10 strikeouts.
- On a sour note, the nine runs allowed by the pitching staff were the second most of the season.
- Gigliotti successfully laid down two bunt singles in the win. He is now 10-for-15 this season on bunt attempts.
- Crisan threw out another runner trying to swipe second. He now has nine on the year.
Lipscomb will travel to Murfreesboro to take on Middle Tennessee Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a makeup game that was postponed due to weather back on February 17.
“Middle Tennessee is playing some good ball right now after winning two of three over the weekend in their league play,” Forehand said. “They are a well-coached team. If you look through the teams in Tennessee, there are a lot of good baseball teams. Belmont and Middle Tennessee back-to-back is going to be a tough test, but hopefully we are ready for it tomorrow.”