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May 06, 2016123456789RHE
North Florida000100000163
Win: PUCKETT (8-2) 9.061007
Loss: BAKER (3-4) 6.086346
SOLOMON (LIP) 413200
BROOKS (UNF) 401000
HIGDON (UNF) 411000
SKINNER (UNF) 401000
DRURY (UNF) 301000
May 07, 2016123456789RHE
North Florida10012144X13172
Win: SMITH (3-0) 2.010011
Loss: GLENN (2-3) 1.054401
SOLOMON (LIP) 413010
DODSON (LIP) 513000
BERRY (UNF) 413210
May 08, 2016123456789RHE
North Florida00012201X6121
Win: OLMSTEAD (5-0) 4.031115
Loss: DORSO (1-3) 0.021100
DODSON (LIP) 523100
HIGDON (UNF) 513000
Baseball eyes key A-Sun series against North Florida
Thursday, May 5, 2016
By Kirk Downs
Baseball eyes key A-Sun series against North Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After taking a week off from action to focus on its exams, the Lipscomb baseball team will return to the diamond this weekend for a key three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series with North Florida at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville.

Friday’s opener is set for 5 p.m., while the final two games on Saturday and Sunday will throw first pitch at noon.

Both Friday and Sunday’s games will air live on ASunTV with no broadcast set for Saturday. However, there will be live stats available throughout the entire series.

The Bisons (23-21, 7-5 A-Sun) are coming off their first conference sweep of the season over NJIT last weekend at Dugan Field. Lipscomb outscored the Highlanders 45-25 in the three games while collected 58 hits.

Sunday’s finale saw the Bisons hang a school NCAA record 22 runs on NJIT.

Lipscomb will try to continue its momentum after scoring a school NCAA single game record of 22 runs against NJIT in last weekend’s finale.

Lipscomb and UNF last met as the top two seeds in the 2015 A-Sun Championship in Fort Myers, Florida.

 The Bisons knocked off the top-seeded Ospreys, 2-1, behind Brady Puckett’s complete game in the semifinals before rallying its way to an 8-7 victory in the championship game to claim the school’s second-ever tournament title en route to earning a berth in the NCAA tournament.


Scouting North Florida:

The Ospreys (28-15, 7-5 A-Sun) enter the weekend winners in eight of their last nine games, including series victories over Stetson and FGCU.

After dropping its first two conference series to Kennesaw State and Jacksonville, UNF bounced back with a three-game sweep of the Hatters in Jacksonville, before taking 2-of-3 from the Eagles in Fort Myers last weekend.

The defending A-Sun regular season champions are raking at a league best .301 clip, 16 points higher than any other team, while also slugging a conference best .426.  The Ospreys are second in the league with a .381 on-base percentage, trailing Lipscomb’s .387.

UNF leads the A-Sun in hits (453), home runs (36) and total bases (641). It is also second in runs scored (284), RBI (260), plate appearances (1753) and walks (166).

Six different hitters are batting over .300 for the Ospreys. They are led by senior catcher Keith Skinner who is hitting .397.  Skinner is also tops on the team with 62 hits, 36 runs scored, 13 doubles and 27 walks.

The reigning A-Sun Player of the Week Chris Thibideau is second on the team with a .341 clip, 34 runs and seven home runs. He does pace the squad with six stolen bases.

Senior two-way player Corbin Olmstead is the top power hitter for the Ospreys with nine home runs and 44 RBI. Olmstead also provides one of the top arms on the staff. The preseason all-conference selection has posted a 1.42 ERA in 25.1 innings of work. He leads the team with five saves, while limiting opponents to a .170 batting average.

The Ospreys pitching staff will bring a 3.90 team ERA into the weekend having thrown 385.1 innings.  They have allowed the second fewest hits (378) and runs (192) in the A-Sun while holding the opposition to a .261 clip.

Friday starter Bryan Baker (3-3, 2.36 ERA) paces the team with 10 starts on the mound. He has also struck out a team-high 60 batters in 61 frames of work.


Probable Starters:

Lipscomb - RHP – Brady Puckett 
(7-2, 3.01 ERA, 77.2 IP, 26 ER, 75 K, 16 BB) 
North Florida - RHP – Bryan Baker 
(3-3, 2.36 ERA, 61.0 IP, 16 ER, 60 K, 20 BB)

Lipscomb - RHP – Jeffrey Passantino 
(5-3, 2.78 ERA, 74.1 IP, 23 ER, 65 K, 10 BB) 
North Florida – RHP – Matt Vaka 
(3-1, 4.42 ERA, 36.2 IP, 18 ER, 20 K, 9 BB)

Lipscomb - RHP – Kyle Kemp 
(2-1, 5.89 ERA, 18.1 IP, 12 ER, 19 K, 11 BB) 
North Florida - LHP – Austin Drury
 (4-1, 4.35 ERA, 51.2 IP, 25 ER, 32 K, 19 BB)


Around the Horn:

  • The two teams have met 32 times in the NCAA era with the Ospreys holding a 19-13 advantage in the all-time series.
  • The Bisons edged the Ospreys 3-2 in five meetings a season ago. After the Ospreys took 2-of-3 from the Purple and Gold in Nashville, Lipscomb and UNF met twice more as the top two seeds in the 2015 A-Sun Championship in Fort Myers, Florida.
  • The Bisons knocked off the top-seeded Ospreys, 2-1, behind Brady Puckett’s complete game in the semifinals before rallying its way to an 8-7 victory in the championship game to claim the school’s second-ever tournament title en route to earning a berth in the NCAA tournament.
  • Lipscomb enters the series 1-14 on the road this season, while going 22-7 at the friendly confines of Dugan Field.
  • The Bisons have been deadly on the base paths for a second year in a row, swiping a league-high 81 bases, the eighth best mark in the NCAA.
  • Their thefts are the fourth-most in a single season in school history, just five behind 2007’s 86 for third. The program leader is the 2010 squad who swiped 93.
  • In the 12 conference games, the Bisons are batting a league high .315 with 37 extra-base hits.
  • Lipscomb has allowed 59 earned runs through 112 innings of play, contributing to its 4.74 ERA.
  • The Purple and Gold have drawn 221 walks as a team, tops in the A-Sun and 14th best in the NCAA.
  • Lee Solomon has 22 stolen bases on the year, tops in the conference and tied for 27th most in the nation. Adam Lee is tied for second in the league with 17, while Michael Gigliotti’s 13 are tied for fourth.
  • Solomon is tied with Ben Williams (’07) for the fourth most in a single season in school history. Tyler Wilson swiped a program record 40 in 2010.
  • Adam Lee leads the A-Sun with 51 RBI, six more than any other player. That is good enough for 22nd across the nation. He only had 38 in his first two seasons combined.
  • He also became the school’s all-time walks leader after drawing five free passes last weekend to bring his career total to 83.
  • Freshman Zeke Dodson, who was batting .234 entering A-Sun play, has begun to find his swing. The third baseman is hitting .412 in league play, which is the fifth highest mark in the conference. His 21 hits are second most, while his 13 RBI are third.
  • Big innings have been a large part of the success for the team in 2016 so far. 12 times this season the Bisons have posted five or more runs in a frame. Lipscomb has also scored four or more tallies in an inning 21 times so far.
  • Lee Solomon (43), Michael Gigliotti (42) and Adam Lee (41) are the leading run scorers in the A-Sun this season.
  • Adam Lee leads the conference with 36 walks on the year, good enough for 27th in the nation. Lee Solomon is second with 32, five more than any other player in the league.
  • Jeffrey Passantino has 65 strikeouts to just 10 walks on the year, contributing to a 6.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio which ranks 3rd in the conference and 21stin the country.
  • Passantino’s WHIP (1.21) is second in the A-Sun and 27th in the nation. He is third in the league in innings pitched (74.1) and ERA (2.78).
  • Although he is second in the A-Sun with five victories on the year, Passantino has failed to pick up a win since defeating Mississippi Valley State on March 26. After beginning the season 5-1 in his first six starts, the sophomore righty is 0-2 in his last five.
  • Brady Puckett leads the A-Sun in wins (7) and innings pitched (77.2).
  • He also took over the top spot in the league with 75 strikeouts after punching out 10 against NJIT. He now has double-digit Ks in each of his last two outings.
  • Puckett and Passantino are tied for the A-Sun lead with two complete games apiece this season.
  • With a 1-0 shutout against Western Michigan on February 28, Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand picked up win No. 250 in a Bison uniform.


Up Next:

Lipscomb will return to the Music City for a midweek tilt at Dugan Field with Tennessee Tech on Tuesday May 10. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.

For more information on the baseball program, continue to check for daily updates or follow @BisonBaseball on twitter.