MACON, Ga. - For the third time in school history the Atlantic Sun Conference selected Lipscomb’s Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium to serve as the host site for the 2016 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship, announced by the league office on Tuesday.
The tournament is scheduled for May 25-28, 2016.
“Anytime Lipscomb gets to host an event we always seem to do a great job and this time will be no different,” Lipscomb baseball head coach Jeff Forehand said. “We really want to add some twists and turns to this opportunity and do things a little different so that we can not only showcase Lipscomb, but the city of Nashville.
“We want to shake things up and put a Nashville spin on the championship experience.”
It will be just the third time since 1994 that the championship destination was located outside the state of Florida, with all three occurrences taking place in Nashville after the Bisons hosted in 2010 and 2011.
Lipscomb Athletics Director Philip Hutcheson is excited about the opportunity and believes with the momentum gained in 2015, it is a perfect time for baseball to host.
"Coming off of a record-breaking season for Bison Baseball and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, it was the perfect time to bid on hosting the A-Sun Tournament once again,” Hutcheson said.
"Our fans left this season excited and hungry for more and we're thrilled to have the privilege of hosting in 2016. The last time we hosted the tournament, all six A-Sun teams were ranked in the top 100 in the nation and three of them made the NCAA tournament. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens again this coming year.”
In 2015 Lipscomb had one of its best campaigns under the direction of Forehand, winning a school-best 39 games, capturing a second A-Sun Tournament title, placing eight players on all-conference teams, knocking off No. 1 Vanderbilt and making its second NCAA Tournament appearance.
The ninth-year head coach believes playing at home paves the best road for his Bisons to have a repeat performance in 2016.
“Our team is excited about getting the chance to play the tournament in front of our hometown crowd,” Forehand said. “The road to a championship is not easy, it never has been, but the possibility of defending our title on our home field provides a great opportunity to do so.”
As Music City serves as the backdrop for the next year’s championship, it provides Lipscomb and its top-notch staff an opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of Nashville. Whether it is the pristine playing surface of Dugan Field, the vibing music scene on Broadway or the award-winning barbeque found at every street corner, Nashville sets up as the perfect destination for anyone making the trip.
"The field itself is a favorite among student athletes and coaches and Nashville is red-hot as a tourist destination too,” Hutcheson said. “Add to that the total confidence that I have in the quality of the service and hospitality that our staff will provide, and we think this all adds up to giving the tournament a chance to be a special one for all who attend.
"It's a great accomplishment any time a team gets to play for a title, so we are appreciative of the opportunity to host again next year and we will do all we can to make the experience a special one for the teams and the fans.”
During its annual Spring Meetings in Daytona Beach, Florida earlier this month, the Atlantic Sun decided to go away from its normal two-year hosting process and instead adopt a one-year agreement in order to free up long commitments.
“I really think the one-year bid process will be great for every team in our conference,” Forehand said. “It will give the student athletes a chance to explore different cities and have new championship environments each season."