NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb baseball team got a big home run from Tyson Ashcraft to help down Murray State 6-3 in nonconference action Tuesday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“After the weekend we had against North Florida we needed this win, it was a big one for us,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “We haven’t been playing consistent this season and that is not what our team is about. We have a good baseball team and hopefully this win will help us get rolling and hit our stride as we head into the meat of conference play.”
The Bisons (21-13) jumped on the board in the third frame when freshman centerfielder Michael Gigliotti cranked a two-out laser into Lake Lipscomb beyond the right field fence for his fourth home run of the season.
An inning later, it was Ashcraft's turn. The senior designated hitter came to the plate with two outs and two men on base after Hunter Hanks singled to left field and Chucky Vazquez walked. Facing a 0-1 count Ashcraft launched his three-run bomb into the trees over the 375-foot sign in left center to extend the lead to 4-0.
“That was such a big hit for us,” Forehand said. “It gave us a four-run lead and allowed our pitchers to go out, relax and just throw the ball. He did a little bit of everything for us tonight and we have to have him contributing for us down the stretch. It was just a solid game for Ty today.”
After Murray State (14-22) tacked on its first run of the night in the top of the fifth, the Bisons responded twice in the home half of the frame. Gigliotti ripped a one-out single up the middle before Grant Massey and Jonathan Allison drew walks to load the bases. Hanks then plated Gigliotti on a sacrifice fly to deep right field while redshirt freshman Allan Hooker singled through the left side to knock in Massey and push Lipscomb’s lead to 6-1.
The Racers added a run in the sixth on a leadoff home run from Tyler Lawrence before scoring again in the seventh when Anthony Bayus tripled to centerfield.
Perhaps the highlight-reel play of the night came on the glove of Gigliotti. In the top of the sixth frame with one out, Murray State's Nick Moore hit a shot to deep left centerfield, but the freshman speedster tracked it down and while running towards the fence, made a diving catch while sliding onto the warning track. The out kept the Racers from grabbing the momentum and getting any closer than three runs the rest of the night.
Junior hurler Kyle Weller got his first career start on the mound for the Bisons and he did not disappoint. The righty picked up the win, improving to 4-0 on the season. He gave up two runs and scattered five hits in six innings pitched. He walked two and tied a career high with four strikeouts.
“After a bad outing this weekend it was good to see Kyle come out and perform well tonight,” Forehand said. “He has been a reliever for us this season, but stepped up when his time came tonight. It was a solid performance.”
Lefty Nick Andros came in to shut the door in the ninth, picking up his third save of the year. He allowed one hit and punched out one.
Gigliotti, Hooker and Ashcraft all had two hits for the Bisons.
- Lipscomb improves to 11-6 in the all-time series with Murray State. Tuesday marked the first time since 2010 the two teams have squared off.
- The Bisons improve to 17-5 at home this season.
- Ashcraft’s home run was his first of the season. His three runs knocked in were also his first RBIs.
- Weller’s six innings tossed marked a career high. Prior to Tuesday, he had not gone more than 4.1.
- After making seven straight starts to begin 2015 (3-0), Andros has now recorded a save in three-consecutive contests.
- Gigliotti recorded his 12th multiple-hit game this season. Hooker now has nine while Ashcraft has three.
- Hanks extended his team-high five-game hitting streak.
- The Bisons recorded their sixth multi-homerun game of the year.
- Tuesday marked the 16th game Lipscomb’s pitching staff has struck out at least eight batters in a game this season.
Lipscomb returns to Atlantic Sun Conference action this weekend when it makes a trip to Spartanburg, South Carolina to take on USC Upstate in a three-game series. Friday’s first pitch at Harley Park is set for 5 p.m. CT.
“Just like everyone in our league, Upstate is a solid team,” Forehand said. “They took two out of three from Stetson last weekend, so we will have our hands full. Hopefully we can go down there and put together a good series.”