NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Behind eight complete innings of shutout baseball from freshman starter Jeffrey Passantino, Lipscomb evened its Atlantic Sun Conference series with Stetson Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 victory on "Senior Day" at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“Not only did Jeff pitch well, but so did Stetson’s guy,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “That was just a really good pitchers duel. Anytime you can get a performance from your starting pitcher like that, you have a good chance to win and for Jeffrey to give us that two weeks in a row is solid.”
The win clinched a berth in A-Sun Tournament for Lipscomb.
Passantino pitched a gem for the Bisons (32-16, 10-7 A-Sun) extending his scoreless innings pitched streak to 18. The Fort Myers, Florida native allowed just four hits with seven punch outs and no walks to pick up his third win of the season.
“I just went out today and tried to hit the zone early,” Passantino said. “A lot of their guys like to swing early so I knew I had to get ahead and pound it down in the zone. This was such a huge win for our team to go out and tie the series up. I couldn’t be more proud of this team and now we just have to come back out tomorrow and finish our business.”
Senior southpaw reliever Jason Ziegler came on in relief of Passantino in the ninth to close out his fifth save of the year. Ziegler surrendered one run on one hit and one strike out.
The Bisons gave Passantino some room to work with in the bottom of the third when senior second baseman Mike Korte doubled down the left field line to lead things off. Redshirt junior Adam Lee then got hit by a pitch to put two men on base. After freshman Michael Gigliotti moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, senior shortstop Grant Massey hit a sacrifice fly to plate Korte.
Senior Jonathan Allison then singled up the middle to knock in Adam Lee and give Lipscomb a 2-0 lead. The 2015 Dugan Award winner now has a team-leading 45 RBI on the year.
Two innings later Adam Lee added to the Bisons’ lead when he launched his sixth deep shot of the season to lead off the frame.
Stetson (25-27, 9-8 A-Sun) scored its lone run of the day in the ninth inning when catcher Patrick Mazeika broke the school record by reaching base on his 46th career hit by pitch. He later scored on a single from Josh Powers.
Freshman Brooks Wilson (8-5) took the loss for the Hatters after tossing 7.1 stanzas. He gave up three runs on seven hits with five strike outs and one walk.
In a pregame ceremony, the Bisons took a moment to honor 2015 seniors Korte, Tyson Ashcraft, Massey, Will Blalock, Allison, Josh Lee, Ian Martinez-McGraw, Ziegler, Nick Andros, Caleb Woodson and Griffin Moore.
“We have been through a lot with these seniors and everyone on this team is proud to be on the same team as they are,” Forehand said. “Today was tough for me, it was emotional. But fortunately we get to keep playing and this is not the last weekend we have with them.
“They are a special group to me and I love them all. It has been a great ride with all of them, but I don’t have to say my goodbyes just yet.”
Around the Horn:
- Lipscomb is now one win from tying the school’s NCAA record for wins in a season (33).
- Gigliotti extended his on-base streak to 21 games.
- Allison recorded his 17th multiple-hit game of the year.
- Korte's two-bagger was his fifth of the season.
The Bisons and Hatters will square off in the rubber match Sunday at 1 p.m.