COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team plated six runs in the top of the eighth inning to take a two-run lead over Tennessee Tech, but it could not hang on for the win, as the Golden Eagles came roaring back for six runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to claim a 14-11 decision in midweek action Tuesday afternoon at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
“This is a tough learning lesson for all of us,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “We had some opportunities to change the game early but we made a few mistakes. And then we fight back to have a chance to win and we can’t hold on. That is the unfortunate part. We have to learn from it and be ready to bounce back on Friday.”
Down to its last six outs and playing from four-runs behind in the eighth stanza, Lipscomb (9-4) had to find a way to get on base. The young Bison lineup exhibited discipline and reached base nine times in the frame with only two hits.
Five times the batters worked their way to a base on balls and two more reached after getting hit by a pitch. The free bases sandwiched a 2-RBI double from senior catcher Chucky Vazquez and a 2-run single by freshman third baseman Zeke Dodson.
When the damage was done, Lipscomb had surged in front of TTU 10-8 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
Junior relief pitcher John Pryor, who entered with one out in the sixth, trotted back out to the mound looking to pick up his first win of the season. However, three batters into inning the frame and the game was tied at 10-10. The lefty issued a one-out walk before giving up a 2-run homer to freshman Tyler Brazelton.
The Golden Eagles (6-5) then worked Lipscomb’s Dalton Curtis and Kyle Weller to load the bases and set the stage for cleanup hitter Chase Chambers. Facing a 1-2 count, the sophomore first baseman touched Jamie Young for a grand slam over the scoreboard in right field to take the final lead of the game at 14-10.
Down to their final three outs the Bisons tried to mount a comeback. Redshirt junior Tyler Bethune drew a four-pitch walk to start the frame off. Allan Hooker blasted a double down the left field line to put runners at second and third. Zeke Dodson lifted a ball into right field to bring home Bethune on a sacrifice fly for the game’s final tally.
“We go into the eighth trailing and our offense really comes alive with some clutch base hits and a bunch of walks,” said Forehand. “But we get to the bottom of the inning and the wheels fall off. That was tough to watch. We did try to fight back into it in the ninth, but we just have to learn from this game. ”
A game controlled, for the most part, by Tech saw the home team strike first with two runs in the second when catcher Chris singled to left field.
Tech extended its lead to 5-0 in the fifth after plating three runs on three hits and a Bison error.
Lipscomb finally got things rolling in the top of the sixth when second baseman Lee Solomon and first baseman Adam Lee drew back-to-back walks to lead things off. Freshman left fielder Von Watson went opposite field and banged a double off the top of the wall in right to bring home Solomon and advance Lee to third. Watson is tied for the league lead with six two-baggers on the season.
Designated hitter Tevin Symonette brought around Lee on a sacrifice fly to center. Allan Hooker followed with an RBI-groundout to cut Tech’s lead to 5-3.
The Golden Eagles were able to get those three runs back in the bottom of the frame on a single, a wild pitch and a balk.
An inning later junior shortstop Hunter Hanks blasted a no-doubter over the wall in left to cut the Bisons deficit to 8-4.
The two teams combined to strand 13 runners on base. Particuarlly costly for the Bisons was three separate times they left runners standing at third.
Lipscomb threw a season-high seven pitchers in the game, while TTU also tossed seven. Curtis got pegged with the loss after walking the only two batters he faced. The Atlantic Sun’s top save man falls to 0-1.
Tuesday’s defeat marks the seventh straight loss for Lipscomb in Cookeville, with the last win coming on February 27, 2007.
“I have even kidded with their coach that we weren’t going to continue playing over here,” Forehand said. “Those guys are tough to beat here.
“They know how the wind blows and how the ball carries here. They have a lot of confidence here in this park. If you went back through the box scores of all of the games we’ve played here, I am sure we have given them a lot of runs here, but you have to give them credit. They are a really good ball club at home.”
Around the Herd:
- The official game time was 3:58 and 21 different players saw action for Lipscomb.
- Entering the game, the Bisons were ranked No. 6 in the nation with 70 walks. On Tuesday, they added to that total by tying a season-high with 10 base on balls. They now have 29 more walks than any other team in the A-Sun.
- Freshman Adam Stewart made the second start of his career. He tossed five innings, scattering seven earned runs on nine hits and five strikeouts.
- Gigliotti extended his on-base streak to 45 games with a full-count walk in the seventh. He did lose a 10-game hitting streak after going 0-for-3 at the dish.
- The eight hits marked the seventh time this season the Bisons had at least eight hits.
- Hooker has reached base now in 10 straight games for the second longest streak on the team.
- Lee set a career high in the loss with four walks. He finished the game 1-for-1 with one RBI and two runs. He now has a team-high 13 RBI, the second-most in the conference.
- Solomon drew two walks in the loss and added to his A-Sun leading total of 14.
- Hanks’ home run in the seventh was his first of the season and the fourth of his career.
- Vazquez’s double in the eighth was his first of the season.
- Eight different Bisons recorded a hit Tuesday.
- A season high seven pitchers took the mound for Lipscomb.
- For just the fourth time this season, Lipscomb failed to record a stolen base.
The Bisons travel to Athens, Georgia for its first weekend road trip of the season to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in a three-game series at Foley Field. Friday’s first pitch is slated for 5 p.m. The nonconference set continues Saturday at 1 p.m. before wrapping up at noon on Sunday.