NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Behind a quality start from sophomore Brady Puckett and a two-run blast from left fielder Tevin Symonette, the Lipscomb baseball team downed Eastern Kentucky 3-2 to take the series against the Colonels Sunday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“This was a good win for us today,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “To be able to lose the opener on Friday and fight our way back to take the series shows you a lot about this group of guys in the dugout."
Puckett picked up where he left off after starring as a freshman for the Bisons (2-1) in 2015. The 6-foot-8 sophomore worked seven innings, surrendering six hits and two earned runs while also striking out five batters.
“Brady comes out and gives up the early run, but then settles in and shuts them down for six innings after that,” Forehand said. “You see what he is capable of after getting rattled, but that is just the guy he is. I am so proud of the way he bounced back and how he put us in a position to win the game from the mound.”
Eastern Kentucky (1-2) wasted no time in taking the lead as leadoff man Doug Teegarden took Puckett’s first pitch of the game and cranked it over the wall in left center for a solo home run. Ben Fisher drove in Kyle Nowlin on a fielder’s choice to extend the Colonels lead to 2-0 later in the first inning.
“I kind of got punched in the face to start, but it felt great getting back out there,” Puckett said. “When he hit that first pitch all I could do was laugh. It was over and I had to settle back in.”
The momentum began to swing in the third inning when Lipscomb was able to scratch across a run to cut the EKU lead in half. Sophomore center fielder Michael Gigliotti legged out a bunt single and then advanced to third on a base knock from second baseman Lee Solomon. Senior first baseman Adam Lee ripped an RBI single to left to score Gigliotti.
The Bisons took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Chucky Vasquez singled to the right side to start the frame and scored on the home run from Symonette that cleared the wall in left center giving the newcomer his first career hit.
“Tev comes through with a big two-run homer for his first career hit, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Forehand said. “I am so happy that he was able to get that ball and to be able to put us on top for good. What a game from him.”
Senior right hander Kyle Weller would pick up the save in the contest after entering in the eighth and working the final five outs. He faced six batters, punching out three, and surrendered only one hit.
“For Weller to come out and give us a five-out save was huge,” Forehand said. “He has been working for that and after Dalton Curtis had gone two days in a row, we decided to go his way and he delivered.”
EKU’s Hunter Dunn took the loss after giving up three runs on seven hits in four frames of work. Nick Cumpston entered for relief in the fifth and allowed just one base runner over the final four stanzas.
“Winning that game yesterday was huge for us,” Puckett said. “I believe it gave us the momentum to be able to come out here today and get the series win. Overall it was a great weekend.”
Around the Horn:
- Lipscomb now leads the all-time series with EKU 3-2.
- Gigliotti’s double in the first inning extended his on-base streak to 35 games.
- Gigliotti's bunt single in the third was his first of the season. The speedster led the nation as a freshman last season with 22.
- Freshman Zeke Dodson made his second straight start at third base and recorded his first collegiate base hit with a single through the left side in the fourth inning.
- Seven of the nine Lipscomb batters recorded a hit.
- The Bisons did not commit an error for the second game in a row.
- Junior southpaw Jamie Young started the eighth inning and faced just one batter, getting a groundout to second base.
“Jamie came back with some redemption after coming in on Friday and giving up a walk,” Forehand said. “He was able to come in today and get that same guy.
Lipscomb will make the short trip to Murfreesboro to take on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.