NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An offensive explosion from the bats of the Lipscomb baseball team propelled the Bisons (5-2) to a series-clinching 13-5 win over La Salle (4-5) Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“We are really swinging the bat well right now,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “Our offense is really taking off, but what I am most proud of is, our guys are having really good at-bats. It’s fun to watch them have success after they work on it so hard.”
After leading Lipscomb on Friday, redshirt freshman right fielder Allan Hooker did it again Saturday, leading the offensive onslaught going 3-for-3 at the dish with 4-RBI. Hooker delivered knockout blows with a 3-run homer in the fifth and an RBI-double in the sixth.
“I am really seeing the ball well right now and just trying to make the best of my opportunity,” Hooker said. “We had some really good pitching the last two days from our starters and our bullpen was lights out. We also made some great defensive plays.
"Our offense is clicking right now. We owe it all to Coach Paul Phillips and all the hard work he does with us. It's not just me hitting well, it's the whole team and we just have to keep it up."
His four runs driven in are the most by a Bison since Jonathan Allison drove in four last March in a win over UT-Martin.
Freshman center fielder Michael Gigliotti drove in a trio of Bisons with a 4-for-6 afternoon that included a rocket shot just inside the right foul pole in the fifth.
“The speed that Gig’s offers changes the offense for us,” Forehand said. “He beat out a play to first that a lot of guys would have been out on. He is going to be fun to watch over the next few years.”
Junior transfer catcher Chucky Vazquez also had a big day at the plate with a 2-for-5 afternoon including a pair of runs scored and two RBI.
The top of the lineup stayed busy on the bases all day long as batters 1-through-4 combined for eight hits, six RBI and three runs.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the second, the Bisons responded with a pair of runs in the fourth as Vazquez singled through the left side to bring around freshman designated hitter Tyler Brown and Hooker to take a 2-1 lead.
That one-run margin would quickly evaporate in the top of the fifth however as the Explorers responded with a two-run stanza to go back on top 3-2.
Lipscomb answered right back in the home half of the inning with continuous knockout blows.
Allison and sophomore third baseman Hunter Hanks got things started with back-to-back doubles to knot the game at 3-3. Following a walk from Brown, Hooker landed an uppercut with his 3-run blast. Three batters later, redshirt junior first baseman Adam Lee singled to center to plate Vazquez.
“Right now Hook is hot and we have to keep him rolling,” Forehand said. “But we also need to get Tyson Ashcraft and Josh Lee back in there as well and keep them hot. But I am really proud of Hook and am looking forward to see what he is going to do next.”
Gigliotti put the game out of reach in the next at-bat with a 2-run bomb to push the lead to 9-3. It was his first career long ball.
Lipscomb tacked on four more in the sixth on a RBI-double from Hooker and RBI-singles from Vazquez, Gigliotti and senior shortstop Grant Massey.
La Salle tried to rally in the ninth frame, but could only muster two runs before the Bisons shut the door.
Senior lefty Nick Andros got his first start in almost two weeks after Lipscomb had to reshuffle its schedule and started hot by striking out the side in the first. The 6-foot-6 southpaw gave up three runs on six hits over 4.2 innings of work. He allowed three walks and struck out five.
Junior college transfer Kyle Weller made his second career appearance for Lipscomb and grabbed his first win (1-0). He finished the night with two runs allowed over 4.1 frames. Weller allowed just one walk and struck out four.
Joey Ravert (2-1) took the loss for La Salle after working four innings. He gave up four runs on nine hits.
Reliever Jordan Meyer lasted just one-third of an inning as the Bisons seemed to know exactly what was coming with every pitch. Meyer faced only six batters, but gave up five runs on three hits.
- Lipscomb improves to 2-0 all-time against La Salle.
- Massey extended his hitting streak to 16 games and has now reached base safely in 22 straight.
- In his first two career starts, Hooker is 5-for-7 with seven RBI. He has two home runs and two doubles.
- Six Bisons recorded a multi-hit day at the plate.
- All but one starter recorded a hit for Lipscomb.
- The 13 runs scored and 18 hits are season highs.
- Lipscomb has scored 8-plus runs in 5-of-7 games this season.
- Hanks recorded his team-leading fourth double of the season in the win.
- Massey, Hooker and Adam Lee each have seven RBI this season to lead the Bisons.
- Josh Lee hit his second double of the season with a pinch-hit at-bat in the sixth.
The two teams wrap up the series Sunday with a 1 p.m. tilt at Dugan Field. Junior Denton Norman will get the nod on the bump for the Bisons.