NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thanks to an impressive offensive showing, Lipscomb opened the Mule Mix Classic with a 13-6 victory over Miami (OH) on Friday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field.
"This was a great win for our ball club," Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. "We had great pitching, we had great production from the top of the lineup to the bottom and we had good coaching. Overall I thought this was our best game of the season so far."
Zeke Dodson and Chucky Vazquez each smashed home runs for the Bisons (3-2) and Kyle Weller pitched two innings to get the win on the mound.
The Bisons set the tone from the beginning. Michael Gigliotti walked and Lee Solomon was hit by a pitch. Miami’s righthander Brett Schwartz was called for a balk, which allowed Gigliotti to score. Adam Lee singled in Solomon to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead in the first.
The bottom of the second brought some wild action. Tevin Symonette singled and advanced to second base on an error. Hunter Hanks drove in Symonette with a single and then Gigliotti reached safely on a bunt. Hanks scored all the way from first after an errant throw went down the right field line, giving Lipscomb a 4-0 advantage.
Miami’s Ross Haffey drove a bases-clearing double to left field to plate three runs for the Redhawks (1-3) in the top of the third.
Dodson, a freshman third baseman, provided a highlight reel moment in the bottom of the third when the Tifton, Georgia native smashed a grand slam that cleared the batting cages beyond the left field fence. Lee, Watson, and Symonette each had drawn walks and came around to score on the smash.
"I am so happy for Zeke," Forehand said. "He found himself in a good count at 3-1, got a fastball and put a great swing on it. He did exactly what he was supposed to do and I am excited about the way he is playing right now."
Weller came on in relief of starter Cody Glenn in the top of the fourth inning. A wild pitch that allowed Miami’s Tyler Harris to score was the lone blemish on Weller’s two innings of work.
Lipscomb’s offense was not finished. Allan Hooker led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on a wild pitch. Chucky Vazquez launched a home run over the wall in left center field to extend Lipscomb’s lead to 11-4.
Miami showed signs of life in the top of the eighth when Gary Russo hit a two-run homer, but it would not be enough to mount a comeback.
Lipscomb added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth after the Bisons loaded the bases and Symonette came through with a two-RBI single to plate Lee and freshman Von Watson.
Redshirt senior lefty Geordie Carlson made his first appearance of the season and pitched three innings, allowing two runs that were both unearned. Freshman Adam Stewart finished off the game by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Six of the nine batters who made a plate appearance Friday were underclassmen. They combined for eight hits, eight RBI and eight runs scored in the win.
"I am excited about our young hitter," Forehand said. "They are really starting to come along. Every one of these guys are talented and I am excited to see what's coming next."
Around the Horn:
- Forehand is now just two wins shy of No. 250 as the Lipscomb head coach. He has 459 for his career.
- Glenn made his second start in a Lipscomb uniform. He went three innings, threw 65 pitches and struck out six batters. He surrendered three earned runs on three hits.
- All nine Bison batters scored a run.
- Dodson’s grand slam was the second hit of his career.
- Gigliotti extended his on-base streak to 37 games with a walk in the first inning. He went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored. He had two bunt singles to give him three on the year. He finished 2015 as the nation's leader with 22.
- Lipscomb’s 13 runs scored was its highest output of the season.
- Lee drove in two runs Friday to push his team-leading RBI total to seven.
- Solomon drew his team-leading sixth free pass in the win. He also leads the Bisons with three stolen bases and a .571 on-base percentage.
- Five of the six runs given up for the Bisons came with two outs. They now have allowed 25 of the 31 runs on the year to score with two outs.
- Five Bisons recorded multiple hits.
Lipscomb will play host to the Black Knights of Army West Point on Saturday as the Mule Mix Classic continues. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Jeffrey Passantino (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will start on the mound for the Bisons.