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March 26, 20161234567RHE
Miss. Valley State0000010142
Win: PASSANTINO (5-1) 7.041117
Loss: Hodges (1-5) 5.055350
Cox (MVSUBB16) 302100
WATSON (LIP) 322210
March 26, 2016123456789RHE
Miss. Valley State001000011335
Win: PUCKETT (5-1) 8.0322211
Loss: Cole Gullette (0-2) 0.234120
Edward Cox (MVSUBB16) 401200
Caleb Lindsey (MVSUBB16) 411000
Quitman Smith (MVSUBB16) 311000
SOLOMON (LIP) 433210
BETHUNE (LIP) 423200
BROWN (LIP) 523200
Baseball caps series sweep with doubleheader wins over Delta Devils
Saturday, March 26, 2016
By Kirk Downs & Russell Vannozzi
Baseball caps series sweep with doubleheader wins over Delta Devils

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team wrapped up Easter weekend with a full head of steam taking both ends of a twinbill 11-1 and 16-3 against Mississippi Valley State Saturday afternoon.

The pair of nonconference wins finished off the three-game sweep of the Delta Devils at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.

“Starting pitching is the name of the game,” Lipscomb’s 10th-year skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Today, Jeffrey (Passantino) and Brady (Puckett) gave us the great performances we have come accustomed to. They put us in a position to win the game, and that is what I hope I can continue to say for the rest of the season.

“I thought our offense really came alive this weekend. If we can get those performances from both the pitching and offense, we are going to be tough to beat.”

Passantino and Puckett both delivered stellar pitching performances while Lipscomb’s bats caught fire. 

With the wins Lipscomb improves to 15-9 on the season while MVSU falls to 4-17.


Game 1: Lipscomb 11, Mississippi Valley State 1

A five-run seventh inning helped the Bisons run-rule Mississippi Valley State in game one.

Both head coaches agreed that a 10-run advantage for either team after seven would be the end of the tilt. Michael Gigliotti’s 3-run bomb in the seventh sealed the 11-1 early exit.

Passantino was firing on all cylinders in the opening contest. The sophomore righty went a complete game and allowed just one run. He picked up his fifth victory of the season while striking out seven.

Lipscomb took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Tevin Symonette beat out an infield hit, allowing Zeke Dodson and Von Watson to score.

The Delta Devils got on the board in the sixth when Edward Cox drilled an RBI triple to right field.

A four-run bottom of the sixth helped the Bisons take a commanding lead. Allan Hooker drew a walk with the bases loaded to plate Symonette. Hunter Hanks grounded into a fielder’s choice and a hard slide by Hooker at second base helped Watson score. Lee Solomon doubled down the right field line to drive in Hanks and Jeffrey Crisan, putting Lipscomb on top 6-1.

Lipscomb’s finished off the game by scoring five runs in the seventh. In addition to Gigliotti’s blast, Crisan had an RBI single and Hanks drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. 

“We had a rough game on Tuesday,” Solomon said. “We wanted to come into this weekend series with the focus of getting back to what we do best. I think these last three games have given us a good opportunity to get back in our groove.”


Game 2: Lipscomb 16, Mississippi Valley State 3

The Bisons finished off their series sweep of MVSU with an impressive 16-3 victory in game two. A gem from Puckett and a grand slam by Lee were the highlights of the contest.

Puckett delivered the third dominant start of the weekend for the Bisons. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native tossed eight innings and gave up two runs. He struck out a career high 11 batters while issuing just two walks.

Lipscomb jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Dodson singled through the left side to drive in Solomon. Tyler Bethune lined a single up the middle to plate two more runs. Tyler Brown’s infield single scored Chucky Vazquez.

Mississippi Valley State scored its first run when Edward Cox’s groundout drove in Quitman Smith. The Delta Devils would not score again until the eighth and ninth, when Cox ripped an RBI-single to left center and Marshall Parish scored on a wild pitch.

The Bisons continued their hot hitting in the bottom of the third, plating three more runs. Brown doubled down the left field line to score Bethune. Hanks and Solomon followed with RBI singles to extend Lipscomb’s advantage to 7-1.

Dodson singled in the bottom of the fifth to drive in Solomon and put the Bisons up 8-1.

Lipscomb erupted for five more tallies in the bottom of the sixth. Adam Lee hammered a grand slam into the trees past the left field fence. It was his second slam of the season after launching one in the Friday opener at Georgia two weeks ago.

Solomon also picked up another RBI on an infield single and giving the Bisons a 13-1 lead after six frames.  

Lipscomb added three runs in the eighth to extend its lead to 16-2. Cade Sorrells produced a sacrifice fly RBI and Dodson drove in Gigliotti with an RBI fielder’s choice. Symontte’s RBI single scored Dodson for Lipscomb’s final run of the game.

Bethune and Brown both made spot starts and produced in big ways. Bethune went 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored as the designated hitter, while Brown manned right field and went 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

“For me as a head coach it is good to see both of those guys get in the lineup and produce they we know they can,” Forehand said. “Both Brown and Bethune were able to come off the bench and drive in a couple of runs each. That shows we have plenty of options to go to at any point in a game.”

Solomon paced the Lipscomb offense with a 3-for-4 day at the dish. He drove in two and scored three times.
“That’s what we expect from Lee, it was a good day from him,” said Forehand. “When he gets on the bases, he is a threat to steal at any time. Today he was also able to come up with some big hits and RBI. He just has to keep it up and continue challenging everyone else.

“That’s kind of how you get this team going. They all have competitions between themselves on hits, RBI, stolen bases and etc. If we can keep everyone going we are going to be in good shape.”

The sophomore second baseman continued to use his speed on the base paths, swiping a school record five bags in the win. He is now the Atlantic Sun Conference’s leader with 16 on the season.

“Coach (Brad) Coon has done a great job with our guys, helping and teaching us the counts and situations of when to runs and when not to,” Solomon said. The coaches are always pushing and telling us to get more bases. I just wanted to take that green light and try to use that to get our team going. “


Around the Horn:

  • The 16 runs scored In game two match a season high. The Bisons also achieved the feat against Eastern Illinois on March 15. The eight stolen bases tied the season high against Alabama A&M on March 6.
  • Lipscomb pitching staff combined for season series lows in hits (11) and runs allowed (5).
  • Solomon, Gigliotti (11) and Lee (9) are the top base-running trio in the conference.
  • Lee reached base in both games to extend his team leading on-base streak to 14 games. Dodson also extended his streak to nine games.
  • With Lee’s grand slam in the sixth, he is now itied for the league’s lead with 33 RBI. Solomon is fifth with 24. The duo’s 22 walks each are top in the A-Sun.
  • Puckett (43.0) and Passantino (42.0) rank first and second as inning eaters in the league.
  • Passantino stands second in the A-Sun with 39 strikeouts and Puckett is third with 38. USC Upstate’s Tyler Jackson is the leader with 48.
  • Solomon leads the team with eight multiple-hit games. He and Lee are tied for the top in multi-RBI games with eight each.
  • Dalton Curtis was the only reliever to pitch during the series. He tossed the final inning of game two and gave up a run.
  • Between the two tilts, the Bisons drew 14 walks and now have 142 for the season.
  • The Bisons had double-digit hit totals in both games and they have now accomplished that feat 10 times this year.
  • Lipscomb benefited from seven Mississippi Valley State errors on Saturday.


Up Next:

Lipscomb will host the UT Martin Skyhawks for a midweek game on Tuesday evening. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Dugan Field.  

“Any sweep at any time is good for your team,” said Forehand. “One game leads to the next and for us to get this momentum is great, but now we have to move on to the next game and try to keep it going.”