Puckett highlights baseball's postseason haul with ASUN Pitcher of the Year
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
By Kirk Downs
Puckett highlights baseball's postseason haul with ASUN Pitcher of the Year

MACON, Ga. – Sophomore Brady Puckett was unanimously named the 2016 Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year by the league’s head coaches and represents one of nine Lipscomb baseball players to earn recognition for their play this season, the conference office announced Tuesday afternoon.

Puckett becomes the only Bison in school history to earn the league’s top pitching honor.

In addition to the Pitcher of the Year, Puckett and first baseman Adam Lee were named to the All-ASUN First Team. Center fielder Michael Gigliotti and second baseman Lee Solomon were voted to the All-ASUN Second Team.

With a vast majority of the league’s top underclassmen all residing on the Bisons roster, it was no surprise to see third baseman Zeke Dodson, starting pitcher Kyle Kemp, first baseman Cade Sorrells and outfielders Von Watson and Tevin Symonette land Lipscomb a conference-high five selections on the All-Freshman Team.

In total, Lipscomb and North Florida tied for the most all-conference honors with nine players selected from each program. The selections are the most for Lipscomb in school history, edging out 2015’s total of eight.

 

SP | Brady Puckett | Pitcher of the Year | First Team All-Conference

Puckett dominated his opponents as the anchor of the Bisons rotation and tossed his way to an 8-2 record and a 2.77 ERA. In his 14 starts this season Lipscomb is 12-2 and the righty has not lost a decision in his last seven contests. In addition, Puckett’s 15 career wins are tied for the second most in school history, just one behind the all-time record of 16 set by Ian Martinez-McGraw (2014-15).

Not only did the Murfreesboro, Tennessee native lead the league in wins, he was also the chief with 93 strikeouts, 100.2 innings pitched and four pitcher of the week honors. He is just the fourth Bison to eclipse the 100-inning plateau for a season in the school’s NCAA era.

Puckett’s 93 strikeouts are the most by a Bison in a single season since Rex Brothers also tallied 93 in 2007.

In his seven ASUN starts, Puckett was 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 53.0 frames while limiting foes to a .227 batting average.

On the season, Puckett has pitched two complete games where he did not allow an earned run – against Jacksonville and at North Florida. Puckett tossed his league best third complete game in a 4-1 win over Eastern Michigan. He has gone the distance five times in his career, three more than any active player in the league.

Three times this season Puckett rang up double-digit batters, including a career high 11 strikeouts in wins over Kennesaw State and Mississippi Valley State. He also fanned 10 in Lipscomb’s first-ever meeting with NJIT.

Puckett pitched at least seven innings in 11 of 14 games, even after being lifted early at Stetson in preparation for the conference tournament.

His all-conference selection is the second of his career after taking home second team honors as a true freshman.

 

1B | Adam Lee | First Team All-Conference

Lee was named All-ASUN First Team after producing a senior campaign that earned him consideration as the league’s Player of the Year. He led the conference in six statistical categories and ranked among the top five in 10.

While batting .321 with the fourth-best on-base percentage in the conference (.450), Lee pounded opposing staffs for a league-high 62 RBI, which broke Caleb Joseph’s single-season record set in 2007.

Lee topped the charts with 41 walks, becoming Lipscomb’s all-time career walks leader with 88 in only three seasons.

He finished behind only Solomon with 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts, helping the Bisons to 96 thefts, the 10th highest team total in the nation. He also racked up 62 hits, 11 doubles and scored 48 runs, the fifth most in the ASUN.

Against conference foes Lee improved his average at the plate to .361 where he produced 30 hits, 22 RBI, 20 runs and 16 walks.

He led the Bisons with 16 multiple-RBI games and finished third with multi-hits in 15. Lee notched a base hit in 40-of-55 games this season while leading Lipscomb for a second straight season in home runs with six. Two of those long shots were grand slams, with one helping him drive in a career high five RBI against Georgia.

He put together a career best 10-game hitting streak and 16-game on-base streak. Against Tennessee Tech Lee drew a career high four walks.

Lee has also played excellent defense in his final season as Lipscomb’s starting first baseman. He led the ASUN for a second straight season with 520 total fielding chances and 490 putouts while also having a hand in 45 double plays. Lee made just four errors the entire season to post a .992 fielding percentage.

Lee was one of the four unanimous selections to the ASUN All-Academic Team on Monday after sporting a 3.53 cumulative GPA while working on his Masters in Management. He was also an all-academic selection in 2015.

 

OF | Michael Gigliotti | Second Team All-Conference

For Lipscomb’s offense it all started at the top with Gigliotti. The dynamic center fielder missed two weeks of the season due to injury, but was still able to churn out some of the best numbers in the ASUN in only 48 games.

For a second straight season the speedster led the nation with 17 bunt singles. He had 22 in 2015. Gigliotti posted in a .326 batting average with 58 hits in 177 at-bats while slugging .500.

Behind 31 walks the sophomore posted a .435 on-base percentage, the sixth best mark in the conference.

Once he got on base, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native was just as dangerous, stealing 15 bases to place three Bisons inside the top four base stealers in the league.

He finished second in the ASUN with 54 runs scored after crossing the dish a career best four times in the finale at Stetson last weekend.

Gigliotti tied for the league’s lead with five triples after clipping two in the series against the Hatters and now owns the school’s career record with eight in only two seasons.

He was second on the team with 12 doubles while also adding three home runs from his leadoff position.

After totaling just 12 extra-base hits in 232 at-bats as a freshman, Gigliotti combined for 20 in his second season at Lipscomb.

Not only did Gigliotti prove to be a safe bet to reach base in 2016, reaching in 44-of-48 games, he has shown an ability to reach for his entire career, having found a way on in all but seven career games (98-of-105).

Gigliotti used his vision to draw walks in 32 games this season, including in 20 of his last 30 contests. He also tacked on base hits in 23 of his last 29.

He finished tied for third on the team with 15 multiple-hit games this season, giving him 35 for his career. 

Gigliotti tied his career high with four hits and two doubles against Dallas Baptist.

He was an All-ASUN Freshman, a Second Team All-Conference and a two-time Freshman All-American in 2015.

 

2B | Lee Solomon | Second Team All-Conference

After having just four at-bats as a freshman in 2015, Solomon finished his second campaign as a breakout star this season for Lipscomb. He was one of only two players in the league to play in 55 games.

Solomon finished the season as the ASUN’s stolen base king with 25 and was a major reason the Bisons swiped a school-record 96 on the year. His total stands as the second best mark in program history.

He finished inside the top five of nine different statistical categories including the second most marks in hits (77), walks (36), on-base percentage (.496) and double plays (43). His .362 batting clip and 50 runs scored were the third-best marks in the league.

Solomon was named the ASUN Baseball Scholar Athlete of the Year on Monday after carrying a 3.90 cumulative GPA while studying as a Law, Justice and Society major with a concentration in Social Change. He was the second straight Bison to receive the honor after Ian Martinez-McGraw took home the distinction in 2015.

He set the Lipscomb single-game record with five steals in a win over Mississippi Valley State on March 26th after setting the record three weeks prior with four thefts against Alabama A&M.

The Columbus, Ohio native finished the regular season on a 16-game on-base streak and finished a single shy of hitting for the cycle in the Bisons regular season finale at Stetson. In total, he reached base safely in 49 of Lipscomb’s 55 games and notched a base hit in 32 of his last 38.

Solomon posted a .421/.476/.537 slash line in league play and led the conference with 40 hits against ASUN foes. He totaled 14 games with three or more hits and recorded multiple hits in his last six conference tilts.

He collected a career high four base hits in games against FGCU and UT-Martin.

Solomon posted a team high 21 multiple-hit games and finished second with multiple RBI in 15 tilts. He used nine doubles, three triples and four home runs to total 104 bases, the seventh most in the conference this season.

He earned his first ever player of the week honor on Sunday.

 

3B | Zeke Dodson | All-Freshman Team

Dodson provided the anchor Lipscomb needed on the hot corner. His sure-handed defense kept him on the field early in the season until hot bat solidified his presence in the every-day lineup.

He led all Lipscomb freshmen in nearly every statistical category. Dodson raked .309 with 56 hits in 181 at-bats. He finished fifth in the ASUN with 32 walks while his 41 RBI placed him as the third Bison in the top 10 run producers in the league.

Dodson’s .415 on-base percentage was 12th best in the conference while adding seven doubles, one triple and two home runs.

In league play Dodson raised his numbers significantly. The Tifton, Georgia native batted .337 at the dish to go along with a .412 OBP and a .404 slugging percentage. His notched 30 hits, 13 RBI and 11 walks in 103 plate appearances.

Dodson was honored as the ASUN Player of the Week after delivering walk-off knocks in back-to-back games against USC Upstate. He also added another game-winning hit with an RBI-triple in the 13th inning at Kennesaw State. He continued his clutch play by then ripping a game-tying 2-RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against NJIT a week later.

From the time conference play began on April 8 through the end of the season, only Solomon posted a higher batting clip than Dodson’s .365 where he collected hits in 21-of-25 games. During that stretch he added seven multiple-RBI games after only having five through his first 28 career contests. He also totaled 10 multiple-hit games in that time.

He ended the season having reached base in 30 of his last 50 plate appearances and collected a hit in 19-of-20 games.

Dodson launched a grand slam as his first career home run against Miami-Ohio in just his fourth career game. He notched a career best 5-for-5 performance against NJIT while also going 9-for-9 at one point in the series.

He put together a career high 10-game hitting streak in the last month of the season where he batted .500 (21-of-42) with 13 runs, 12 RBI and eight walks.

Dodson totaled 97 assists from his third base position where he did not record an error in his first 28 games.

He finished third on the team with 15 multiple-hit and 12 multiple-RBI games.

 

SP | Kyle Kemp | All-Freshman Team

After being sidelined all of 2015 with an injury, Kemp eagerly bounced back to provide a much-needed arm in the Bisons’ staff. He made 15 appearances after beginning the year out of the bullpen before moving into the Sunday slot of the rotation to make four starts.

Kemp compiled a 3-2 record in 33.3 innings of work and posted a 5.08 ERA with 23 strikeouts. He punched out multiple batters in eight of his 11 relief outings.

In his last emergence from the pen, the Port Charlotte, Florida native struck out a career high five batters in four complete frames to pick up the win at Kennesaw State. He moved into the rotation the very next weekend.

In ASUN play, Kemp was 3-1 with a 4.10 ERA and fanned 12 batters in 26.1 innings.

Kemp put together his best outing in the regular season finale at Stetson where he tossed a career high six innings without allowing a run. He held the Hatters to just two hits in the victory.

The right-hander tossed a career high 90 pitches in 5.2 stanzas against Florida Gulf Coast.

 

1B/DH | Cade Sorrells | All-Freshman Team

After seeing just a handful of games through March, Sorrells began to find his way over the last two months of the season. Although he made just 16 starts as either the designated hitter or first baseman, Sorrells’ steady production at the plate led to appearances in 30 games overall.

He ended the regular season with a .273 batting clip after picking up 21 hits in 77 at-bats. Sorrells drove in nine RBI, drew six walks and scored 11 times.

Thirteen of his hits came against ASUN foes, including his first career home run against NJIT that went for a grand slam to help lead the Bisons to a school record 22 runs.

The lefty always seemed to step up the most in the Bisons’ biggest games. He recorded four multiple-hit contests against foes from the ASUN or the SEC, and produced perhaps his most memorable performance on the road at Georgia.

Against the Bulldogs, Sorrells picked up his first career hit and RBI while going 3-for-4 just minutes down the road from his hometown of Monroe.

Sorrells closed the season on a tear by registering hits in 11 of his last 14 games, including a 3-for-5 day with two runs and a RBI against North Florida.

 

OF | Tevin Symonette | All-Freshman Team

Symonette was one of three rookies who started at least 46 games for the Bisons this season. As an outfielder and designated hitter, he had a breakout campaign that saw him post a .301 batting average with 52 hits and 32 RBI.

The Freeport, Bahamas native drew 21 walks to help his .384 on-base percentage and smashed five home runs, second most on the team, leading to a .457 slugging clip.

Symonette swiped four bases in six attempts while adding eight doubles, two triple and 26 runs.

In ASUN play, he upped his average to .329 with 13 RBI and nine walks.  

He had a career best 4-for-4 performance in the finale against USC Upstate to help lead Lipscomb to a series victory.

Symonette was second on the team with 16 multiple-hit games, while also adding eight multiple-RBI contests.

He posted a career high 10-game hit streak and an 11-game on-base streak in his first season of play in Nashville. Symonette was a reliable option in the outfield having not made an error in 60 chances.

He closed the season with two or more hits in eight of his last 14 games.

 

OF | Von Watson | All-Freshman Team

Watson came to Lipscomb as the projected ASUN Freshman of the Year by D1Baseball. He got off to a slow start early in the season before catching fire down the stretch to pick up base knocks in 10 of his last 12 contests.

He saw action in 47 games while making 46 starts as either an outfielder or designated hitter. Watson finished the season batting .274 with 45 hits in 164 at-bats.  

With 11 doubles he was tied for the second highest total on the team.

The native of Potts Camp, Mississippi collected 28 runs and 28 RBI to go along with 22 walks and six stolen bases.

In 15 games against league competition, Watson raked .360 with 18 hits in 50 at-bats and drew six walks to post a .439 on-base percentage. While slugging .500, he drove in seven run and scored 11 times.

Watson smashed his first collegiate home run on the road at Dallas Baptist before adding another in the 22-run romp over NJIT.

He totaled 12 multiple-hit games on the season, including four of his last five. Watson also added nine multiple-RBI contests before collecting his first career triple against Jacksonville.

Watson posted a career best three hits on five occasions.

Florida Gulf Coast second baseman Jake Noll was named the ASUN Player of the Year while Kennesaw State skipper Mike Sansing earned Coach of the Year. North Florida short stop Kyle Brooks landed Defensive Player of the Year while the distinction for the league’s top freshman went to USC Upstate’s Devon Ortiz.

Lipscomb and its full cast of ASUN honorees will now turn their attention to the 2016 ASUN Baseball Championship on their home turf of Ken Dugan Field. The fourth-seeded Bisons will take on the third-seeded Jacksonville Dolphins in the opening round of play on Wednesday. The Bisons are tentatively slated to get under way at 7 p.m. in the final game of the day on ESPN3.