FORT MYERS, Fla. – Dominant pitching controlled the first two games of the weekend for the Lipscomb baseball team and Sunday was no different.
With 6-foot-8 Brady Puckett on the hill, the Bisons stalled Florida Gulf Coast to grab a 4-1 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play to earn a sweep of the weekend at Swanson Stadium.
“I felt really good going into the game and I started to settle in more as the game went along,” Puckett said. “The plan was to just get out there, throw strikes and let my defense play behind me and they did just that. It was fun out there today.”
The lanky freshman surrendered just two hits in eight scoreless innings of work. He struck out five and walked two in 105 pitches. With the win he moves to 5-2 on the year.
Sunday marked the first scoreless outing of the season for Puckett as he held the Eagles to a .083 batting average.
Lipscomb improves to 30-15 overall and 9-6 in league play while FGCU falls to 24-22-1, 7-7.
The Bisons’ pitching staff set a school record over the weekend, allowing the fewest runs (2) in a three-game series in the program’s NCAA era.
Lipscomb held the Eagles scoreless for 25 of the 27 innings, both runs coming in the ninth inning.
“Anytime you go on the road it is hard to win games,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “We played really well this weekend and I have to give a lot of credit to our starting pitching. They took us deep into games and limited a good offensive club to just two runs on the weekend.
“You absolutely can’t ask for anything more from them. I am proud of the whole staff.”
The Bisons manufactured their first run in the top of the sixth, with a little help from the Eagles. Senior second baseman Mike Korte led off the frame with a single to right field and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from first baseman Adam Lee.
At the top of the order freshman Michael Gigliotti bounced a chopper to FGCU’s Matt Reardon at shortstop, but just as Korte flashed in front the freshman while going to third, the ball bounced off Reardon’s shoulder and flung into center field. Korte came around to score while Gigliotti took second base out of the box.
Later in the eighth inning, freshman designated hitter Tyler Brown reached first base after getting plunked. Korte moved Brown to second with his 13th sacrifice bunt of the season. Adam Lee grounded to short, but another error from Reardon put runners on the corners. Following two pull-back bunt attempts from Gigliotti, Adam Lee swiped his sixth bag of the season from the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
Gigliotti drove the next pitch over the infield and both runners came around to score to make it 3-0.
An inning later, making his first at-bat of the day, Josh Lee flares a leadoff single to shallow right field. Junior Chucky Vazquez put runners on the corners after sophomore Hunter Hanks moved Josh Lee to second with a sacrifice bunt.
Freshman designated hitter Tyler Brown, seeing his first action since April 4th at Jacksonville, came up and tagged a ball into left centerfield to bring around Josh Lee for his first collegiate RBI.
“It was a great swing by Tyler,” Forehand said. “The ball unfortunately hasn’t fallen his way much this season, but the whole coaching staff had a good feeling about him before the game and we wanted to get him in there to help give us a spark.”
Senior Nick Andros entered the game in the ninth looking to shut the door. He gave up a leadoff walk and a RBI-double to FGCU first baseman Nick Rivera. Andros picked up his fourth save of the year.
Around the Horn:
- The Bisons swept FGCU for the first time in program history. That is now back-to-back road sweeps in conference play and the fifth time this season Lipscomb got out the broom.
- Before surrendering a run in the ninth inning, Lipscomb had gone 17 straight innings without allowing a score.
- The pitching staff lowered its team ERA to 3.88.
- All five of Puckett’s wins this season have come on the road.
- Gigliotti extended his on-base streak to 18 games while Vazquez is now at 11.
- FGCU stranded 30 runners on base this weekend.
Lipscomb returns home to host Western Kentucky on Tuesday May 5th. First pitch is currently scheduled for 6 p.m.
“It’s not even enough time for us to catch our breath,” a jubilated Forehand said. “Western Kentucky comes to our place on Tuesday and they will present a tough challenge. After we played them earlier in the season, we walked away feeling they were one of the best teams we will play all year long.
“They are solid from top to bottom, but at this time in the year everyone you play is going to be good. We just have to build off of this momentum and take it one game at a time before Stetson comes in next weekend.”