NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Led by Allan Hooker’s three RBI day, the Lipscomb baseball team pounded out 12 hits to get an 8-2 series-opening win over La Salle Friday at frigid Ken Dugan Field.
“We have been struggling some offensively in the last two games, but the two-out hit in the first really got us going,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “Our bats really came alive today and now we just have to try and continue the production tomorrow. I am really proud of the way our guys played today.”
The Bisons (4-2) took an early 1-0 advantage in the home half of the first when sophomore Hunter Hanks lined the first pitch he saw into the gap in right field to bring home senior Grant Massey who reached after being hit in the elbow.
After LaSalle’s Ryan Welling tied things up in the top of the second with a RBI-single, Lipscomb wasted little time in jumping back on top.
In the bottom of the frame, freshman designated hitter Tyler Brown hit an infield single to the shortstop for his first-career hit. After Brown swiped second, Adam Lee roped a 2-out RBI double into left center to bring home Brown and give Lipscomb a 2-1 lead.
Massey, Jonathan Allison and Hanks started off the bottom of the third with three-consecutive singles to load the bases for freshman Jeffrey Crisan. A wild pitch allowed all three runners to move up a bag, scoring Massey.
Crisan then grounded out to third base, but did enough to plate Allison.
Making his first-career start, Hooker stepped to the plate with one man on and no outs. After working the count to 2-2, the redshirt freshman blasted the pitch well beyond the right field fence into icy Lake Lipscomb to bring home Hanks and push the Bisons lead to 6-1. The two-run bomb was his first career hit.
“It sure was a lot of fun for him, and for us to watch, as he got his first-career start,” Forehand said. “He really got our offense going there in the fourth when he hit that homerun. It was a great at-bat and he nailed that two-strike pitch.
In the fourth freshman Michael Gigliotti led off the inning with a three-bagger. He later crossed the plate on a passed ball to push the Purple and Gold’s lead to 7-1.
LaSalle (4-3) added a run in the sixth on a RBI-groundout by right fielder Ethan Springston to make it 7-2.
The Bisons got things going again in the seventh when Allison drew a one-out walk. Two batters later Crisan reached base with a single to left field that pushed Allison to third.
Looking to add to his career day, Hooker double down the right field line to bring home Allison for his third RBI on the afternoon.
Senior Ian Martinez-McGraw (2-0) continued his impressive start on the season, tossing five innings of work and only giving up one run on eight hits. He struck out three and walked two.
Brady Puckett made his first-career appearance for Lipscomb when he came on in relief in the sixth. The 6-foot-8 freshman worked three innings and gave up one run on four hits. He fanned a game high five batters.
“I though Brady threw really well for us today,” Forehand said. “He is one of the guys we have not been able to get into a game this year, and we thought today would be a perfect opportunity, especially when we had a little bit of breathing room.
“He ran into a little trouble, but that is to be expected when it’s your first time and your heart starts racing. But he threw some hard strikes and we all were excited to see him come in and do well.”
Jared Mattera (0-2) took the loss for the Explorers. He went three innings and gave up six runs on eight hits.
- Lipscomb improved to 1-0 all-time against LaSalle.
- Massey extended his hitting streak to 15 games and has now reached base safely in 21 straight.
- With his RBI, Massey now leads the team with six. He also swiped his team-leading third steal.
- Every starter for Lipscomb recorded a hit. Massey, Hooker and Adam Lee all had two hits.
- Adam Lee is now 9-for-20 on the season and has a team-leading .450 batting average.
- Adam Lee and Hanks each had a double to lead Lipscomb with three on the year.
The Bisons and Explorers get back at it on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday’s series finale will be at 1 p.m. Then on Tuesday March 3, the Bisons will host Tennessee Tech at 4 p.m.
“After we enjoy this win for a little bit, we will get right back at it tomorrow,” Forehand said. “LaSalle is a very, very good baseball team. They swing the bats well; I mean they got 12 hits today, so that really tells you the type of offense we are facing. They will bring in all we want tomorrow.”