KENNESAW, Ga. – Zeke Dodson’s RBI-triple in the top of the 13th inning lifted the Lipscomb baseball team to an 11-9 victory in the final game of a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series at Stillwell Stadium.
Able to overcome a ninth-inning rally by Kennesaw State (20-21, 10-2 A-Sun) that sent the game into extras, the Bisons (20-20, 4-5 A-Sun) picked up their first road win of the season.
“This was a good comeback win for us today after two tough losses to a good team in Kennesaw,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “After scoring just one run the last two days, it was very good to see every player in the lineup get a hit. We also had six guys drive in runs and that is what our offense is capable of doing. It was time for everyone to step up.”
In the 13th frame, Adam Lee struck out swinging, but was able to reach base after the ball got away from the KSU catcher. Dodson then followed with his three-bagger over the head of the Owl center fielder for his third game-winning hit in two weeks. He also had two walk-off base knocks against USC Upstate a couple weeks ago.
“Zeke has stepped up his game since conference play started,” Forehand said. “He works on his game constantly and it is beginning to pay off a little more. It’s fun to see him get another game-winning hit.”
Sophomore Allan Hooker tacked on an insurance run for the Bisons with a RBI-single to center to bring home Dodson.
Freshman Kyle Kemp picked up his second win of the season on the hill in relief. The righty came on to begin the 10th and pitched the final four innings. His only blemish came on a solo home run that served as the game-tying run in the bottom of the 11th.
“I can’t say enough about Kyle,” Forehand said. “After battling through some adversity with Kennesaw tying it up a couple of times, he stuck with it and pitched great. That is exactly what we needed from him.”
He scattered four hits and struck out a career high five batters to secure the win.
After not pushing across a run in 15 innings of play entering Sunday, the Bisons released their frustration as the first five batters of the game reached base, leading to three runs. Left fielder Tevin Symonette ripped a 2-RBI single to right field before Tyler Bethune knocked in Dodson to give Lipscomb an early 3-0 lead.
Lee Solomon pushed the Bisons advantage to 4-0 in the second with a single up the middle for his first RBI of the day.
The Owls managed to get on the board in the fourth with a solo blast from Taylor Allum.
Aided by three errors, Lipscomb responded with a two-run fifth frame to extend the cushion to 6-1 as Solomon and Hunter Hanks came around to score when KSU threw the ball into its dugout.
That margin would be short-lived however as Kennesaw State cut the lead in half with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning.
In the top of the seventh Adam Lee knocked in Hanks with a single up the middle for his first RBI of the weekend to make it 7-3.
But once again the Owls would not go quietly as they touched Lipscomb starter Brady Puckett for two runs on three hits in the home half of the seventh to cut the Bison lead to 7-5, thus ending the righty’s afternoon.
Before exiting his 10th start of the season Puckett tied his career high with 11 strikeouts. The 6-foot-8 hurler pitched 7.0 frames while allowing four earned runs on nine hits and one walk in 101 pitches.
“We got another good performance from Brady,” Forehand said. “He was able to get 11 strikeouts and he put us in a great position to win the game.”
Puckett has now gone at least seven innings in 14 of his 21 career starts on the bump.
With Lipscomb leading 8-5 entering the final stanza senior Jaesung Hwang, who entered in relief in the eighth, stayed in the game looking to pick up his first save of the season. Kennesaw State had other plans.
Following a leadoff walk on five pitches, Hwang came right back to retire the next two. From there the Owls used two singles and a double to plate three runs to knot the game at 8-8 and send it to extras.
In the top of the 11th, Adam Lee drew a leadoff walk to get things rolling. After swiping second, he moved up to third on a wild pitch. Freshman Tevin Symonette then gave the Bisons a 9-8 lead when he laced a double down the third base line.
KSU tied things up once again in the bottom of the inning off a Brennan Morgan solo shot to left. That score would eventually set the stage for Dodson’s go-ahead RBI in the 13th.
“This win is huge for our club,” said Forehand. “We went through three games worth of situations with us fighting back, taking the lead, giving it up again and eventually winning it. Everyone wanted to win it in nine, but hopefully being able to win a road game like this will do us some good.”
Around the Horn:
- The Bisons are now 1-14 on the road this season.
- Lipscomb finished the day with 17 base hits, the second most of the season. It had 19 against Eastern Illinois on March 15.
- In three conference starts, Puckett has thrown 23.0 frames with 22 punch outs and only three walks.
- Freshman Cade Sorrells had a couple career firsts in the top of the eighth. He drew his first-career walk, before swiping the first-ever stolen base.
- Solomon paced the Lipscomb offense with three hits after entering the game in a 0-for-13 slump. He also drove in two, scored twice and picked up two doubles.
- Symonette knocked in a game-high three RBI.
- Adam Lee, Chucky Vazquez and Hunter Hanks all three had two hits. Lee had one RBI and scored three times.
- Adam Lee’s walk in the 11th gave him 78 for his career, tying Ryan Wilkins for the most career walks in Lipscomb’s NCAA era. He now has 31 walks on the year.
- The 17 hits allowed were the second most by any opponent this season.
- Lipscomb’s pitching staff combined to strike out a season high 19 batters. 15 was the previous high.
- Adam Lee takes over second place in the A-Sun with 15 stolen bases after swiping two Sunday.
- Lipscomb stole three bags on the afternoon, bringing its yearly total to 76.
Lipscomb returns to Dugan Field to take on Western Kentucky Tuesday at 6 p.m. in nonconference action.