NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tuesday afternoon’s baseball contest between Lipscomb and Middle Tennessee was delayed by rain not once, but twice making for a nearly five-hour ball game.
The Bisons (2-2) squandered a two-run lead in the sixth and ended up dropping a rain-soaked 9-6 decision to the Blue Raiders at Reece Smith Jr. Field.
“I am very disappointed that we lost this game, but there are a lot of good things that happened tonight,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “We had three pitchers throw their first collegiate pitches in this game. We came back from a three-run deficit to take the lead. We stole some bases.
“There are so many positives we can take from tonight.”
Just like last weekend, the Bisons found themselves in a hole early when Middle Tennessee (3-1) scored three runs on three hits in the bottom of the second inning off Lipscomb starter John Pryor.
In the top of the third, sophomore Lee Solomon got a two-out rally started for the Bisons with a free pass. Senior Adam Lee then followed with a single that ricocheted off the pitcher’s glove and into the hole at short.
Following a double steal that put both runners into scoring position, sophomore Allan Hooker lined a 2-RBI single into right center to cut Middle Tennessee’s lead to 3-2.
Lipscomb got things rolling again in the top of the sixth when it scored three runs to take a 5-3. After a leadoff single from Lee, Hooker followed with a single of his own and both runners moved up a base on the throw from the outfielder.
Freshman left fielder Von Watson launched a 2-RBI double off the wall in left center field before coming around to score on a Tyler Brown single.
Freshman right hander Zach Shirey took over on the mound in the bottom of the fourth and was in cruise control, striking out six batters before running into trouble in the bottom of the sixth.
The Houston, Texas native gave up two doubles, a single and threw a wild pitch to allow the Blue Raiders to cross the plate three times and take a 6-5 lead.
“Shirey came in the game and just shut them down and gave us a chance to get back into it,” Forehand said. “I am excited about what we saw from him.”
Sophomore center fielder Michael Gigliotti started the seventh frame off with a single up the middle before swiping second and moving to third on a wild pitch. He came around to knot things up at 6-6 on a Lee ground out.
In the home half of the seventh it was a familiar face that knocked in the eventual game-winning run for the Blue Raiders. Former Bison third baseman Austin Sistrunk, who has struck out in each of his first three at-bats, stepped to the plate with a runner at third and laced a single through the left side to put Middle up 7-6.
Moments after Sistrunk’s hit, the downpour began and the tarp was pulled. Following a 49-minute rain delay, play resumed for just seven minutes, long enough to finish the seventh inning before a second delay of 48 minutes set in.
Following a one-two-three top of the eighth for the Bisons when action resumed, they turned around and booted two infield balls that led to the game’s final two runs for the Blue Raiders.
Junior reliever Dallas Gibson took the loss and falls to 0-1. He gave up one run on two hits and recorded two punch outs in the decision.
Pryor worked the first two innings, giving up three unearned runs on three hits. He struck out three and walked two.
“We have a lot of guys coming along and I am excited for what’s next with this team,” Forehand said. “I don’t want to celebrate losses, but that is almost what we have to do with this game. These guys will grow and continue to develop as we inch closer to conference play.”
Around the Horn:
- The total game time, including both delays, was 4:38.
- All nine of Middle Tennessee’s runs came with two outs. For the season the Bisons have allowed 20-of-25 runs to come with two outs.
- Middle Tennessee now leads the all-time series 16-13 in Lipscomb’s NCAA era.
- Lipscomb swiped six stolen bases in the game compared to just one from MT.
- Gigliotti was hit by a pitch in the fifth to push his on-base streak to 36 games.
- Shirey’s appearance was the first of his collegiate career.
- Freshmen Adam Stewart and Alex Dorso made their collegiate debuts with relief appearances in the eighth.
- Hooker picked up the 14th multi-hit game and the 11th multi-RBI game of his career after going 2-for-4 with two RBI.
- Both of Watson’s hits this season have gone for 2-RBI doubles.
- Lee finished the night 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.
- Brown’s RBI single in the sixth was his first hit of the season.
- Sistrunk played at Lipscomb for two seasons, 2013 and 2014, as a freshman and sophomore.
Lipscomb will take the field again on Friday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. when it hosts Miami-Ohio at Dugan Field in the opener of the 2016 Mule Mix Classic. The weekend’s action will continue at 2 p.m. Saturday against Army West Point and will conclude at noon Sunday against Western Michigan.