SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Lipscomb baseball team blasted three home runs to roll over USC Upstate 11-1 in Atlantic Sun Conference action Friday night at rain-soaked Harley Park.
The Bisons were unstoppable at the plate, scoring in all but one inning to take the series opener and improving to 22-13 overall and 3-4 in league play.
“It was a great team win tonight,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “I think it got us going when we were able to score with two outs in the first inning. We really did a great job of getting guys on base and once we did, we pushed them across. It was a solid offensive performance.”
Senior outfielder Tyson Ashcraft blasted two leadoff home runs in the second and fourth innings to get the Bisons offense rolling.
“I just love being able to talk about that,” Forehand said. “Ty has been around a long time waiting for his turn. That time has come and he is really swinging a hot bat. He has really gotten off to great starts in each of the last two games with homers. I can’t say enough about what he has done and I look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”
Ashcraft also homered in Tuesday’s win over Murray State.
“I’ve been working with Coach Phillips on my approach at the plate and changing my stance a little bit,” Ashcraft said. “I’ve gotten down into my legs more and I think that has been a big difference for me and given me a little more confidence in these last two games.
“We’ve struggled some in conference play and everyone, including myself, knows we have to turn it up. I am just trying to do my part.”
Sophomore third baseman Hunter Hanks finished the night 3-for-5 at the dish and knocked in the game’s first run in the opening stanza with a single up the middle.
Senior left fielder Jonathan Allison kept the scoring going in the fifth with a RBI-single up the middle. An inning later senior Grant Massey blasted an opposite-field two-run bomb to push Lipscomb’s lead to 6-1. It was his second home run of he year.
The Bisons pushed across three runs in the seventh when senior second baseman Mike Korte and redshirt junior first baseman Adam Lee recorded RBI’s on a fielder’s choice before freshman center fielder Michael Gigliotti wrapped the inning with a RBI-single to left field.
With the bases loaded in the eighth, Korte was struck by a pitch to advance the runners and plate Allan Hooker.
In the final frame after Gigliotti got into scoring position on a free pass and a wild pitch, Massey ripped a single up the middle to cap a 3-RBI night for the veteran shortstop
Senior Ian Martinez-McGraw (5-2) notched his first conference win of the season tossing eight complete innings. He gave up the lone run of the night in the first inning, before settling down nicely. The hurler scattered seven hits with four punch outs and two walks.
“Ian started kind of slow in the first inning, but he eventually he settled in nicely,” Forehand said. “He gave us eighth strong innings. You almost have to rip that guy off the mound; he wants to pitch every inning.
“I think he almost wanted to shoot me when I told him he wasn’t going back out in the ninth. It was just a solid performance from him. We expect nothing less every time he takes the mound.”
Dalton Curtis came in to pitch a perfect final inning with two strike outs.
The loss drops Upstate to 13-25 overall and 4-6 in the A-Sun.
- The Bisons now lead the all-time series with Upstate 10-9, but the Spartans still hold a 6-4 advantage inside Harley Park.
- Massey and Hanks, three apiece, led four Bisons with multiple hits. Massey now has 13 multiple-hit games this season while Hanks has eight.
- Ashcraft now has 13 career home runs. Friday marked the 2nd multi-home run game of his career. The first came on April 23, 2013 at Belmont.
- Lipscomb hit three home runs in a game for the first time since March 15, 2014 against Jacksonville.
- The Bisons stole four bases in the win. Allison (10), Hanks (4), A. Lee (4), Ashcraft (1).
- Martinez-McGraw tossed a season high 136 pitches and matched his season high in innings pitched.
- With 14 hits, Lipscomb now has 17 games of double digit hits. It is 14-3 in those games.
- Forehand is just three wins from reaching No. 450 for his career. His overall record is 447-411-1.
The Bisons will wrap-up the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. CT. The expected heavy amounts of rain in the Spartanburg area on Sunday forced th