NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Despite a quality start from Cody Glenn and a two-run home run from Chucky Vazquez, the Lipscomb baseball team fell to Jacksonville 7-5 on Friday at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Atlantic Sun Conference play.
The Dolphins took the lead for the final time when Austin Hays blasted a home run over the left-center field fence in the top of the ninth, capping a four-hit night for the junior right fielder. Lipscomb was unable to muster a comeback in the bottom of the frame, dropping the first contest of the three-game conference series.
Glenn had a solid outing in his eighth start in a Lipscomb uniform. The Houston, Texas native went six innings and gave up just two earned runs while scattering seven hits and striking out three batters.
“Cody had a good outing for us tonight,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “He battled through some adversity early and put us in a position to win the game.”
Jacksonville (21-12, 3-1 A-Sun) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when a wild pitch by Glenn allowed Sam Armstrong to score. An inning later, Hays doubled and then scored on a single by J.J. Gould, which put the Dolphins ahead 2-0.
Lipscomb (18-16, 2-2 A-Sun) answered in the bottom of the third after Michael Gigliotti and Lee Solomon hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. Adam Lee delivered a single of his own to drive in Gigliotti and cut the Dolphin lead to 3-1. The Bisons appeared to be heading for more runs, but Solomon was tagged out in a rundown between third base and home and Cade Sorrells popped out with the bases loaded to end the frame.
The Bisons tied the ballgame in the bottom of the fifth. Gigliotti led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. A wild pitch allowed Gigliotti to get to third and he scored the very next batter when Lee came through with his second RBI of the evening on a groundout.
Lipscomb put a three spot on the board in the sixth to take a 5-2 lead. Sorrells lofted a single into center field and then Allan Hooker lined a double down the right field line. The ball got away from the right fielder allowing Sorrells to score all the way from first. Vazquez then crushed his two-run home run over the left center field fence, breaking a 1-for-44 slump.
“Chucky got a good swing on that ball he hit out,” said Forehand. That got him going and it was a huge lift for us at that time.”
The Dolphins answered with two runs in the top of the seventh to cut Lipscomb’s lead to 5-4. After Glenn allowed a lead-off double to Armstrong, Dallas Gibson came on in relief. A wild pitch from the right hander allowed Armstrong to cross the plate and Hays later hit his third double of the night to score Nathan Koslowski.
In the eighth, Gibson hit back-to-back batters prompting Forehand to bring in Alex Dorso. The freshman southpaw struck out the lone batter he faced.
Senior righty Jaseung Hwang was then called upon to make his season debut after battling an arm injury. Hwang allowed an RBI single to Jacksonville’s Connor Stephens, which tied the game at 5-5. However, the Cumming, Georgia native struck out the next batter and induced a groundout to prevent further damage.
Jacksonville went on to score two more in the ninth on Hays’ 2-run bomb.
Jacksonville starter and the reigning A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Michael Baumann struck out nine Lipscomb batters, tying a career high. Baumann was rolling until the Bisons scored three runs in the sixth. The Mahtomedi, Minnesota native was relieved by Kyle Arjona after going 5.1 innings and surrendering four earned runs.
“I have to tip my cap to Jacksonville, they have the best pitcher and the best hitter in the league and they both did it tonight,” Forehand said. “Baumann had nine strikeouts and Hays continued to hit over .400 and come up with the big knocks. They both are solid players and they both hurt us tonight.”
Around the Horn:
- Lee drew a walk in the first inning and is now just three free passes away from tying the school career record. Ryan Wilkins leads with 78 career walks. Lee also had his 10thmulti-RBI game of the season.
- Vazquez’s homer in the sixth broke a 1-for-44 hitting slump. The senior catcher’s last base hit came on March 25thagainst Mississippi Valley State.
- Gigliotti has now walked in 16 of his last 18 games. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native has reached base in 33-of-35 games this season. He also picked up his 14thbunt single of the season.
- Hwang’s appearance was his first of the season after battling a lingering arm injury this season. He last pitched against Radford on May 30, 2015 in the NCAA Regionals, working three scoreless innings.
- Gibson made his 14th relief appearance of the season on Friday. He gave up two runs, one of which was earned, in 1.0 inning of work.
- The Bisons went 12-for-38 (.316) at the plate but struck out 15 times. That ties the team’s season-high as Lipscomb also struck out 15 times against Middle Tennessee on March 1st.
- Four Lipscomb batters had multi-hit outings and Dodson led all Bison batters with three hits.
- Lipscomb hitters drew three walks and the team now has 178 this season. Lee stole his 13thbase of the season to put the team total at 69 for the year, good for sixth place in the NCAA.
Game 2 of the series is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Dugan Field. Sophomore righty Jeffrey Passantino (5-1, 2.28 ERA) will get the start on the mound for Lipscomb. It should be a beautiful day for baseball, but for those that cannot attend, the game will air on ESPN3 and live stats will also be available.
“We have to correct some of the small things, the guys know what they have to do,” Forehand said.” Every team we play is a great team. We put ourselves in position to do the things we work on, but we can’t just hand the game to our opponents. Jacksonville played a little better than we did tonight, so now we have to come back out tomorrow and try and even this thing up.”