|May 01, 2015||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: MARTINEZ-MCGRAW (6-2)||6.1||10||0||0||3||3|
|Loss: DESGUIN (5-1)||7.0||5||5||5||1||4|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Needing as many Atlantic Sun Conference wins as it can get with just three weeks to play in the regular season the Lipscomb baseball team came out on a mission Friday night and shut down home-standing Florida Gulf Coast 5-1 at Swanson Stadium.
“It’s a big win any time you can win on the road,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Florida Gulf Coast is a really good baseball team. We got good pitching and had one big inning and that proved to be enough. This was a win we needed to start off the weekend.”
Lipscomb (28-15, 7-6) trailed A-Sun co-leader FGCU (24-20-1, 7-5) by two games in the league standings entering the weekend.
When the game was all over, it would be senior’s Ian Martinez-McGraw and Jonathan Allison who wrote the story on the night.
Hurler Martinez-McGraw gave up 10 hits and three walks in 6.1 innings pitched and with ability to work out of jams, FGCU stranded 19 runners on base. In comparison, Lipscomb stranded just one.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight and I found myself pitching from behind a lot,” Martinez-McGraw said. “But after we put that five-spot on the board it made me feel more comfortable out there. I was just trying to work them inside and out and put my trust in the defense.”
The Pueblo, Colorado native picked up his sixth win (6-2) of the season, striking out three and lowering his league-leading ERA to 2.05
Offensivley Lipscomb was stymied for most of the night. Seven times the Bisons went down in order and they were out-hit 13-5.
Four of Lipscomb's base knocks came in the third frame, when the offense hung five runs on the A-Sun's top pitching staff before an out was recorded in the inning.
Senior second baseman Mike Korte got things rolling by drawing his 19th free pass of the year. Redshirt junior first baseman Adam Lee followed with a bloop single down the left field line before freshman speedster Michael Gigliotti dropped down a bunt to load the bases.
Veteran shortstop Grant Massy stepped to the plate and lasered a single into right field to score Korte and set the stage for Allison.
The lefty destroyed the first pitch he saw, sending it over the net beyond the right field fence for the first grand slam of his career.
“Johnny got a good first pitch to hit and he made them pay for it,” Forehand said. “He has been a reliable threat at the plate all season long with runners on base. He is having a great season."
Allison is hitting .404 on the year with runners in scoring position and he tied his career-high, driving in four runs for the fifth time in two seasons in the Purple and Gold.
When Forehand decided to pull Martinez-McGraw, the skipper went to reigning A-Sun co-pitcher of the week Nick Andros. The southpaw entered the game with runners at second and third with one out in the seventh. He got a punch out and a flyout to get out of the stanza. Andros tossed the final 2.2 innings, scattering three hits and giving up the lone run of the night in the final frame. He struck out three and walked two.
"This was a huge win for us, especially after what happened to us last weekend against Kennesaw State,” Martinez-McGraw said. “Only six teams get to go to the conference tournament, so every series matters.”
Around the Horn:
- The win halted a 5-game win streak by FGCU. Lipscomb trails the all-time series 14-12, but have now beaten the Eagles five times in the last seven meetings.
- Lipscomb was 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position, while FGCU was 2-for-11.
- For the 10th time this season, the pitching staff allowed just one run or fewer. They are undefeated in those contests.
- The Bisons are 13-0 when Andros toes the rubber this season (7 starts).
- Martinez-McGraw notched his 15th career victory. That is tied for the second most wins on the A-Sun active career leader’s chart while he is tied for third-most in Lipscomb’s NCAA era.
- Allison’s bomb was his fifth of the season and the ninth of his career.
- Massey recorded his 16th multi-hit game of the season, tying Allison and Gigliotti for the team lead.
- Lipscomb is 24-4 when scoring five or more runs.
- In the fifth frame this season the Bisons have scored 47 runs, making it the highest-scoring inning on the season.
The Bisons return to the diamond Saturday for the second game of the series at 1 p.m. CT. The matchup will feature freshman and Fort Myers native Jeffrey Passantino (1-1, 3.26 ERA) for Lipscomb. He will square off against the reigning A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and a 2014 Louisville Slugger All-American, junior Michael Murray (4-5, 3.73 ERA).