|April 16, 2016||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: Nathan Disch (5-3)||8.1||4||0||0||1||8|
|Loss: PASSANTINO (5-2)||8.0||5||2||1||1||6|
|Parker Perez (JU)||4||0||2||1||0||0|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lipscomb’s Jeffrey Passantino and Jacksonville’s Nathan Disch battled in a classic pitcher’s duel, but it was the Dolphins who emerged with a 2-0 win Saturday at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. The victory allowed Jacksonville to clinch the series in the second weekend of Atlantic Sun Conference play.
The contest was an impressive battle on the mound as the two teams traded scoreless frame after scoreless frame. Passantino and Disch matched each other stride for stride until the later innings. The Dolphins put the first and only runs of the game on the board in the eighth when they managed to scratch two runs across on a single and an error, all coming with two outs.
“This was a great pitcher’s duel,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Both guys were matching each other pitch for pitch into the eighth. Jacksonville just came away with three two-out hits in a row to pull away. They (JU) were able to finish the game and we weren’t. But what a great game it was for the most part.”
Passatino went eight innings while surrendering just five hits and one earned run, lowering his season ERA to 2.13.
The sophomore righty also struck out six batters and allowed just one free pass after intentionally walking the scorching Austin Hays. In his last four starts, Passantino has pitched 28.1 innings and only given up five earned runs while punching out 22 batters.
Disch retired the first 12 Lipscomb hitters before the Bisons (18-17, 2-3 A-Sun) finally broke through with a single from Zeke Dodson in the bottom of the fifth. The Appleton, Wisconsin native would go on to pitch 8.1 scoreless innings for the Dolphins before being lifted in the bottom of the ninth. Disch set a new career high of eight strikeouts in the win.
After giving up a leadoff single to JU’s Parker Perez in the top of the first, Passantino went on to retire the next 20 batters in a row. Jacksonville would not get another base hit until the seventh when J.J. Gould doubled off the wall in right center. Lipscomb left fielder Tyler Brown made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch to end the frame while running towards the left-center field gap to rob Connor Stephens of a hit and to keep Gould from scoring.
“Tyler made a fantastic play there in the seventh to take away a hit and a run for Jacksonville,” Forehand said. “We always talk about building on the momentum from our defense, but JU’s guys did a great job and took that momentum away from us quick with a three up, three down frame.
Jacksonville (23-12, 5-1 A-Sun) finally broke the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth after stringing together three straight 2-out singles. Franco Guardascione and Dakota Julylia hit back-to-back singles to get the rally started before Perez laced a single into center field to bring home Guardascione. On the base hit, center fielder Michael Gigliotti scooped up the ball and fired it towards third attempting to get the lead runner, but a fielding error by Dodson allowed the ball to roll past and into the Bisons dugout, allowing Julylia to score and Perez to advance to third to give the Dolphins a 2-0 lead.
“We talk about all the time how games come down to one or two plays,” Forehand said. “That was never more true than today. After giving up three straight singles, we throw the ball to third and our guys can’t keep the ball in front of them. That one play is where Jacksonville got their two runs. Now we lost the series and we just have to come back tomorrow and try to salvage something.”
Around the Horn:
- The Bisons have now dropped their first series at home all season, including the first Saturday defeat of the year.
- Passantino’s 8.0 innings of work was his second longest outing of the season. His longest came against Georgia, when he pitched 8.2 innings and gave up just one earned run. The loss was his first since March 12 against Georgia.
- Lipscomb struggled from the plate going 5-for-30 (.167). All of the team’s hits were singles and the Bisons drew just one walk.
- Dodson was one of the five Lipscomb players that managed a hit. In his last six games, the freshman is 10-of-24 with 7 RBI.
- Kyle Kemp made his ninth appearance of the season and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in relief of Passantino.
The final game of the series is set for Sunday at 11 a.m. at Dugan Field as the Dolphins’ afternoon travel plans prompt an earlier start time. Sophomore right Brady Puckett (5-2, 3.46 ERA) will get the start on the mound for Lipscomb and will face Jacksonville’s Spencer Stockon (4-2, 2.74 ERA). The game will air on ESPN3 and live stats will also be available.