NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Middle inning woes proved to be the difference on Friday night in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for the Lipscomb baseball team as the Bisons dropped a 7-6 decision to USC Upstate at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
The highlight of the night for the Bisons (16-14, 0-1 A-Sun) came in the bottom of the fourth inning when right fielder Allan Hooker launched a two-run shot over the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth against the Spartans (15-15, 1-2 A-Sun).
“We’ve been waiting on Allan to get going,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “That was a good swing that he put on that pitch. It put us right back in the game within one run but then we turned around and didn’t capitalize on it. That’s a tough deal but it’s good to see him get back on track.”
Lipscomb senior starter Cody Glenn lasted four innings allowing four earned runs on five hits and two walks. The southpaw picked up his first loss of the season falling to 2-1. Fellow senior Kyle Weller came on in relief of Glenn in the fifth tossing, one and one-thirds innings of relief. The righty gave up a pair of runs behind four free passes, a hit batter and one hit.
Aside from a shaky first inning and Hooker’s home run, Lipscomb had no answer for USC Upstate starter Tyler Jackson, who carved through the Bison lineup with eight strikeouts in seven innings of work. Jackson improves to 4-3 on the season with the victory.
“Jackson bounced right back after the first inning,” said Forehand. “We should have taken control of the game from the beginning. We scratched out one there but you have to give him the credit. He got them out of the inning and bounced back to give them seven innings after that.”
Lipscomb added a pair of runs in the eighth but it was too little too late. USC Upstate’s Richie Lacelll picked up his sixth save of the season working the final out of the ninth.
“We talk about what we want to do offensively and what we want to do defensively with the team and we did neither,” said Forehand. “We gave them too many free passes, too many wild pitches that moved runners up and hit by pitches. We need to clean that up for tomorrow.”
- Hooker’s long ball in the fourth was the fourth of his career and the first since his pinch-hit home run in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship game against North Florida last season.
- Weller’s appearance was his 11th of the season.
- The Bisons loaded the bases in the first with no outs and got just one run to show for it on a sacrifice fly by Tevin Symonette that plated centerfielder Michael Gigliotti.
- Gigliotti’s run was his 32nd time to cross the plate this season, the most of any Bison.
- After back-to-back hits by Gigliotti and Lee Solomon in the bottom of the first, the Bisons managed just four hits the rest of the game.
- The loss was just the third of the season in 19 games at home for the Purple and Gold.
- Four of USC Upstate’s runs were scored by batters that either walked or were hit by pitch.
Up next: The Bisons continue the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. That contest will air on ESPN3 with Justin Seamon and Robert Harper calling the action from Dugan Field.