NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Behind a dominating pitching performance from senior Ian Martinez-McGraw, the Lipscomb baseball team bounced back to down first-time foe Quinnipiac 5-0 Friday night at rainy Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“Ian was phenominal tonight,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Playing in these conditions is tough for anyone and we thought about taking him out in the eighth, but he was flowing and we wanted him to get us as far as he could. We lean on our starting pitching to give us a chance to win and Ian does just that every time out.”
The Pueblo, Colorado native allowed just three Bobcat (2-9) hits in eight scoreless frames to lower his Atlantic Sun Conference-leading ERA to 0.58. Martinez-McGraw also punched out a career-high seven batters as the Bisons improve to 9-5.
The Bisons offense pounded out nine hits led by a 3-for-3 performance by senior designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft that raised his season average to .280.
“For whatever reason I had a good feeling about Tyson in batting practice and wanted to get him in there tonight,” Forehand said. “He got on base four times tonight with three hits and a walk.
“Unfortunately (Allan) Hooker has been hot lately and we haven’t been able to get him in as much as we wanted, but we know he can do this every time out. It feels good to know we have a lot of options in the designated hitter role.”
Both teams cruised through the first four innings, combining for just two hits. Lipscomb finally broke through with two runs in the fifth.
Hooker and Ashcraft led off the frame with back-to-back walks and then both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Two batters later, senior second baseman Mike Korte lofted a sacrifice fly to deep right field to bring home Hooker for the first run. Redshirt junior first baseman Adam Lee then reached base on a perfectly placed squeeze bunt to give Lipscomb a 2-0 lead as Ashcraft crossed the plate.
“Their (Quinnipiac) guy was sharp for four innings and we were fortunate enough to get two runs in the fifth,” Forehand said. “But that comes from our situational hitting we work on every week. We were able to get some runners on and move them over into scoring position and that set up a couple of sacrifice flies. Those are the things we need to continue to execute.”
The offense kept its pace in the sixth inning when freshman center fielder Michael Gigliotti laced a leadoff double into left field before coming home to score on a ground out to short by senior left fielder Jonathan Allison to extend the lead to 3-0.
The Purple and Gold rounded out the scoring by pushing across two insurance tallies in the seventh. Hooker and Ashcraft, once again, reached base to lead off the inning on a single and a double down the left field line. Freshman Jeffrey Crisan pushed the first run across with a sacrifice fly to left field and Korte followed with a RBI-liner to center.
“Mike is a solid offensive player, but he has just gotten off to a tough start this season,” Forehand said. “But he brings so much to us on defense and is such a valuable player to our team. It was good to see him hit the ball hard and get a hit and a couple of RBI tonight.”
Sophomore lefty John Pryor came on in relief in the ninth. He issued one walk and did not allow a hit.
Thomas Jankins (1-2) took the loss for the Bobcats after working seven frames. He allowed five runs on eight hits. He struck out two and walked three.
- Crisan gunned down two would-be base stealers. He now leads the A-Sun with seven caught stealing.
- Gigliotti improved his team-leading hitting streak and on-base streak to nine.
- Friday marked the sixth time in Ashcraft’s four-year career he recorded a 3-hit game. The last came almost a year ago to the day – March 11, 2014 against Austin Peay (3-for-5).
- The Bisons recorded their first shutout of the season and the first since downing ETSU last season 5-0 on April 5.
- Scoring just five runs Friday, it marked the first time this season Lipscomb won without scoring seven runs.
- Korte got his first RBI since knocking in two against Butler on Feb. 14 in the series finale.
- Other than Ashcraft, Adam Lee was the only other Bison to record a multi-hit game on Friday.
The Bisons return to the diamond at 2 p.m. Saturday and will look to close out the series with Quinnipiac on Sunday at 1 p.m. After the weekend, Lipscomb will travel to Bowling Green to face Western Kentucky in a 6 p.m. bout on Tuesday March, 17.
“Getting back out here and getting a win after such a tough loss on Tuesday feels good, but getting a shutout is even better,” Forehand said. “We made some mistakes on Tuesday, but I thought we played very solid tonight. We just have to build on it.”