|February 20, 2016||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: PASSANTINO (1-0)||7.0||4||1||1||0||7|
|Loss: HAMILTON (0-1)||5.1||5||3||3||2||4|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Jeffrey Passantino put together a dominant season debut to pitch the Lipscomb baseball team past Eastern Kentucky 4-2 Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field.
“This was a great win and a great confidence booster for our guys to get things going here early on in the season,” Forehand said. “Jeff had a great game on the mound. You don’t really realize it as the game is going on, but when you look at the stats and see his numbers, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Passantino tossed seven complete frames, giving up a lone run on four hits while facing just 22 batters – just one above the minimum. He struck out seven batters and did not issue a walk.
“It felt awesome to be back out there, I have been chomping at the bit since the last game of last season,” Passantino said. “I am very pleased with how I threw today. Coach (James) Ogden and I got together, working on how we were going to attack them and I was just lucky enough to be able to execute my pitches when I needed to.
“I just have to remember this feeling from today and go through my routine each week and keep getting better. No team is the same. It is just our job to go out and execute the plan. This was a very big win for our team.”
In the sophomore’s last two starts at Dugan Field, Passantino has combined to throw 15 innings while surrendering just one run on eight hits. Over that span he has struck out 14 batters without allowing a single walk.
EKU (1-1) jumped on the board first with a run in the top of the second after Shea Sullivan ripped a double off the left field wall before coming around to score on an Alex Holderbach single to right field.
The Bisons (1-1) grabbed its first lead of the season at 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth when freshman right fielder Von Watson doubled to right field to plate Lee Solomon and Adam Lee who reached on singles to start the inning off.
Redshirt sophomore Allan Hooker extended Lipscomb’s lead to 3-1 in the sixth when he ripped a 2-0 fastball into left field for a RBI double, scoring Solomon.
An inning later the Bisons loaded the bases following a single from junior Hunter Hanks and walks from sophomore Michael Gigliotti and Solomon.
Lee then chopped a ball to short, allowing Hanks to cross the dish and make it a 4-1 lead in Lipscomb’s favor.
EKU got to Bisons junior reliever Dallas Gibson in the top of the eight with a couple of singles to cut Lipscomb’s lead in half. With runners standing at second and third for the Colonels, Lee came up with a highlight reel diving stab in the hole at first for the final out of the frame to get Gibson and the Bisons out of trouble.
Lee wasn’t the only Bison to flash his leather in the victory. Freshman Zeke Dodson made his first career start at third base for the Purple and Gold, but looked the part of a veteran. The Tift, Georgia native made play after play on the hot corner, recording a team high four assists in the field.
Redshirt junior right hander Dalton Curtis picked up his second career save with a perfect ninth.
EKU’s Alex Hamilton took the loss after working 5.1 innings and giving up three runs on five hits. He recorded four strike outs and two walks.
Around the Horn:
- Lipscomb evens the series with EKU 2-2.
- Seven different Bisons recorded a hit.
- Of the nine starters who took the field for Lipscomb, seven were either a freshman or sophomore.
- Gigliotti drew a walk in the seventh inning to push his on-base streak to 34 games dating back to last season.
- Watson’s fourth-inning double was the first hit of his career.
- Sophomore backstop Jeffrey Crisan made his first start of the year and the 22nd of his career.
- Passantino’s punch outs tied the second most of his career, just two off his career high. He also struck out seven against Stetson on May 9, 2015.
- Redshirt junior Tyler Bethune, who missed all of 2015 due to injury, received his first playing time since May 24, 2014. He served as the designated hitter and recorded a base hit in his first at-bat.
- With runners in scoring position Lipscomb was 3-of-10, while EKU went 2-of-4.
- EKU’s Mandy Alvarez led the Colonels with a game-high two base knocks.
Lipscomb will take on Eastern Kentucky in a rubber match at 1 p.m. Sunday. Six-foot-eight sophomore Brady Puckett is scheduled to get the start on the mound for the Purple and Gold.
“Now we feel like we have the momentum as a team after getting the win today and knowing who we have throwing for us tomorrow,” Forehand said. “We feel as though we have three Friday night starters in Cody Glenn, Jeffrey Passantino and Brady, so the order of who throws when doesn’t matter to us.
“But if Brady can pick up where he left off last season we have to like our chances. It will be exciting to see how he comes out tomorrow.”