|May 20, 2015||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: HWANG (2-1)||1.1||0||0||0||1||1|
|Loss: KOERNER (6-4)||1.0||1||1||1||1||0|
|May 21, 2015||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: PASSANTINO (5-1)||6.0||7||5||5||1||2|
|Loss: Thorne (4-2)||0.2||2||2||2||0||1|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior left fielder Jonathan Allison proved to be the hero in the opening round of the 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Baseball Championship as the second team All-Conference selection delivered a two-out triple to break open a 1-1 tie in the eighth frame propelling Lipscomb to a 2-1 win over No. 5 Florida Gulf Coast at Swanson Stadium early Thursday morning.
“I felt I was seeing the ball well tonight, but I just wasn’t getting any results until that last at-bat,” Allison said. “I was sitting on that pitch and when I finally got it I made sure it counted.
“It was a great game before us, but it just took forever. I felt everybody was so jacked up and ready to play that the wait didn’t matter. It’s two o’clock in the morning, but I don’t think anybody is tired right now.”
The Bisons and FGCU didn’t get started until 11:20 p.m. local time after No. 3 Stetson and No. 4 Jacksonville entered into a 16-inning marathon that included a 151-minute lightning delay. The final out of Lipscomb’s contest was made at 1:59 a.m. Thursday.
The left fielder stepped up with freshman Michael Gigliotti on second base after he opened the frame with a leadoff walk and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by redshirt junior first baseman Adam Lee. The Eagles (28-25-1) then got senior shortstop Grant Massey to fly out to right field for out number two before working Allison to a 2-2 count.
Lipscomb (36-18) trotted out senior Ian Martinez-McGraw to the mound for his 15th start of the season. The first-team All-Conference selection ran into trouble early in the first inning when he issued a four-pitch leadoff walk to shortstop Matt Reardon. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position before second baseman Jake Noll singled through the right side to give FGCU the early 1-0 lead.
"I think our guys played the first inning like it was the ninth," Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. "It was a tournament game and they (FGCU) had a lot of energy starting off. Ian gave up a leadoff walk and they ended up scoring, but man did he really settle down and give us a great game after that."
From there Martinez-McGraw settled down and retired 15 out of his next 18 batters faced. The knuckleballer worked 7.2 innings, scattering five hits with two punch outs and four walks in 122 pitches thrown.
The Bisons first got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when freshman backstop Jeffrey Crisan doubled down the left field line into the corner. A balk moved him to third before a ground out from senior second baseman Mike Korte plated Crisan.
"That was maybe the biggest run of the game just to be able to get us back to even and give us a little room to breath," Forehand said.
Redshirt junior Jaesung Hwang came on to relieve Martinez-McGraw in the eighth after FGCU put two men on with two outs. After issuing a walk to his first batter faced, Hwang induced a ground ball back up the middle that seemed to be a base hit but Massey showed why he was named the A-Sun’s Defensive Player of the Year by ranging behind the bag at second and making a throw across his body to first.
The throw was a little off target, but Adam Lee made a great diving catch while holding his foot on the bag to get the runner by an inch.
Hwang worked the final 1.1 stanzas without allowing a hit. He struck out one and walked one while picking up the win in the process to move to 2-1 on the year.
The Bisons advance to take on third-seeded Stetson on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. CT at Swanson Stadium. The game will be carried live on ESPN3
"Stetson had an emotional win with their walk-off, but they are going to be fired up and ready to play again," Forehand said. "It's tournament baseball and you never know what to expect. We know we are going to get a good Stetson team so we have to be prepared to come right back tomorrow and get another win."