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April 24, 201512345678910RHE
Kennesaw State0011001000392
Win: ANDROS (5-0) 3.210024
Loss: LOWMAN (0-1) 1.121110
GREESON (KSU) 502010
ERWIN (KSU) 502000
LIQUORI (KSU) 402010
April 25, 2015123456789RHE
Kennesaw State0000300104100
Win: BERGEN (5-3) 8.062236
Loss: PASSANTINO (1-1) 6.283214
LIQUORI (KSU) 413200
VAZQUEZ (LIP) 412101
April 26, 2015123456789RHE
Kennesaw State12040203012151
Win: FRIESE (4-4) 7.062043
Loss: PUCKETT (4-2) 3.277710
LIQUORI (KSU) 514400
Bisons and Owls set to tangle in baseball A-Sun action
Thursday, April 23, 2015
By Kirk Downs
Bisons and Owls set to tangle in baseball A-Sun action

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team will return home this weekend to put its longest win streak of the season on the line in a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series with Kennesaw State at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.

Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. while Saturday’s contest will begin at 2 p.m. and the series finale kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This will be the first meeting between the two school’s since KSU downed Lipscomb 7-1 in the championship game of the A-Sun tournament last season in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Bisons own an eight-game winning streak against Kennesaw State in regular-season play over the past three seasons, including three-game sweeps in each of the previous two seasons.

Lipscomb (25-13, 5-4 A-Sun) enters the weekend on a five-game winning streak,  including a three-game sweep of USC Upstate on the road last weekend. The stretch is tied for the third longest streak in the league this season.


Massey Honored:

Senior Grant Massey was one of 47 shortstops across the nation to be named to the initial watch list for the 2015 Brooks Wallace Award, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame announced Thursday.

The award, sponsored by Mizuno, recognizes the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented during the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 29 in Lubbock.

He has lived up to the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year billing, making just one error in 174 total chances (47 putouts, 126 assists) and topping the watch list with a .994 fielding percentage. He has been a part of 24 of the 31 double plays turned by the Bisons this season.


RPI Watch:

In the latest releasing of college baseball's RPI by WarrenNolan, the Bisons have climbed inside the top-100 up to No. 90. It's the highest ranking of the season for Lipscomb. Before downing No. 1 Vanderbilt on April 7, the Bisons were No. 159, rising 69 spots in just three short weeks.


Scouting the Owls:

 Kennesaw State (22-19, 6-5) enters the weekend having won seven of its last 10 contests, including wins over Georgia, Florida Gulf Coast and Georgia Tech.

The Owls split a pair of midweek meetings earlier this week, defeating GT 11-6 on Tuesday before dropping a 6-2 decision to Troy on Wednesday.

KSU is batting .278 as a team this season. That number jumps to .307 in league play. Chris Erwin (.331), Grant Williams (.330) and Jeremy Howell (.319) lead the Owls at the plate

Junior shortstop and Preseason A-Sun All-Conference selection Kal Simmons has been the primary offensive weapon for the defending conference tournament champions. He tops the team with nine home runs and 32 RBI.

The Owls’ pitching staff is one of the best in the league, leading the A-Sun in strikeouts (354) and ranking second in opposing batting average (.263). Its 4.28 ERA stands fourth. KSU has also fanned a league-best 86 batters in A-Sun play.

Hurlers Travis Bergen and Jordan Hillyer rank first and second in conference play for innings pitched at 31.0 and 30.1, respectively.

The duo has combined for five of the last six A-Sun Pitcher of the Week awards (Hillyer - 3 & Bergen - 2).

Last week Hillyer earned co-honors with Lipscomb’s Jeffrey Passantino after tossing a complete-game shutout performance over FGCU. He allowed just three hits with four strikeouts and five walks. He has tossed at least eight innings in four of the last six starts.


Weather at Game Time:

April 24th – 66 degrees – Cloudy (10%) Winds ESE 6 MPH

April 25th – 79 degrees – Scattered Thunderstorms (40%) Winds SW 15 MPH

April 26th – 78 degrees – Rain (10%) Winds SW 8 MPH 

Check with or follow @BisonBaseball on twitter for updates on the team or any time changes with the game


Probable Starters:

Lipscomb – Ian Martinez-McGraw – RHP (5-2, 2.18 ERA, 62.0 IP, 22 R, 15 ER, 40 K, 21 BB) 
Kennesaw State – Jordan Hillyer– RHP (4-3, 2.35 ERA, 65.0 IP, 27 R, 17 ER, 69 K, 31 BB) 

Lipscomb – Jeffrey Passantino – RHP (1-0, 3.38 ERA, 32.0 IP, 12 R, 12 ER, 41 K, 10 BB) 
Kennesaw State – Travis Bergen – LHP (4-3, 2.55 ERA, 70.2 ERA, 26 R, 20 ER, 66 K, 18 BB) 

Lipscomb – Brady Puckett – RHP (4-1, 5.85 ERA, 40.0 IP, 26 R, 26 ER, 28 K, 17 BB) 
Kennesaw State – Gabe Friese – RHP (3-4, 4.17 ERA, 49.2 IP, 29 R, 23 ER, 40 K, 19 BB) 


Quick Hits:

  • Lipscomb looks to extend its 8-game regular season winning streak against the Owls this weekend.  The Bisons swept the series in each of the past two seasons and took 2-of-3 at Dugan Field in 2012.  The Owls however hold a 16-13 advantage in the series including.
  • Grant Massey sits third in A-Sun and 28th in the country for batting average (.386) by totaling 45 singles with 11 extra-base hits including eight doubles.
  • Nick Andros (T-1st; .750) & Ian Martinez-McGraw (3rd; .737) both rank in the top-three best active A-Sun career win-loss percentages.
  • Martinez-McGraw has the second-best ERA in the A-Sun at 2.18.
  • Lipscomb has the second-best team fielding percentage in the A-Sun and the 19th-best in the nation at .977 as the Bisons have committed only 34 errors. UNF leads at .982.
  • The Bisons have registered 20 non-conference victories, which are the most for Lipscomb since joining the A-Sun.
  • Lipscomb has swiped a league-best 58 stolen bases on the year. That stands 39th nationally. It is also tops in league play with 15.
  • Big innings have been a large part of the success for the team in 2015 so far. Three times this season the Bisons have posted seven or more runs in a frame.  Lipscomb has also scored four or more runs in an inning 12 times so far.
  • On the mound, Lipscomb leads the league in ERA (4.03), opposing batting average (.258), saves (12), hits allowed (321), runs allowed (180), earned runs allowed (151) and doubles allowed (52).
  • A number of players rank among the league leaders including Allison who is seventh in on-base percentage (.438), sixth in batting average (.350) and slugging percentage (.524). His 23 walks are sixth and 36 RBI are eighth.
  • Massey ranks fifth in on-base percentage (.445), fifth in hits (56), 10th in RBI (34) and 11th in slugging percentage (.497). His 13 stolen bases are tied for third.
  • Michael Gigliotti and redshirt freshman Allan Hooker are tied for fourth with three triples each. Hooker’s .509 slugging percentage is ninth.
  • Lipscomb’s 13 triples are tied for 40th in the nation.
  • Martinez-McGraw ranks third in the A-Sun in wins (5), fourth in opposing batting average (.252) and sixth in innings pitched (62.0). His 10 starts are tied for 23rd most in Division I.
  • Mike Korte is seventh in the nation in sacrifice bunts with 12, while Hunter Hanks is tied for 33rd across the country with five sacrifice flies.
  • Adam Lee is fourth in the A-Sun in doubles plays with 30, while Korte (28) is sixth and Massey (24) is ninth.
  • Gigliotti leads the nation with 15 bunt singles on the year season. As a team Lipscomb’s 22 ranks fifth in the country.


Up Next:

The Bisons will host in-state rival Middle Tennessee on Tuesday in a 6 p.m. tilt at Dugan Field before making a return trip to the “Sunshine State” to take on Florida Gulf Coast next weekend in Fort Myers.