NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb baseball team was unable to recover from an early deficit and eventually succumbed to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies 16-11 Sunday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium, preventing a chance at only the second season-opening sweep to begin a season in the program’s NCAA era.
“When you give up a lot of freebies like we did today, it’s tough to win a game,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “But even with those mistakes, I was never really worried, I know what this is team is capable of.
“The offense got going and we threw a few zeroes on the scoreboard through the middle innings and we were in position to strike, but we gave up one bad inning at the end and that did it for us.”
Several Bisons had big days at the plate, but Oakland’s bats also caught fire. The Grizzlies finished with 15 hits and scored five runs in both the second and ninth innings. They had five players with multi-hit games and four drove in multiple runs.
As impressive as Oakland’s offensive performance was, Lipscomb’s was equally as good.
Lipscomb sophomore first baseman Cade Sorrells had a career day at the plate. He finished 4-for-5 with 4 RBI and hit a 3-run home run off the scoreboard in right in the final stanza.
“I think we started slow as a team today, but with the guys we have on this team we never panicked,” Sorrells said. “Having a year under my belt definitely gives me a better understanding how to approach guys at the plate. And being able to cut down on my swing when I got two strikes helped me get a few hits.
His classmate and designated hitter Von Watson finished 3-for-5 with 4 RBI, including a three-run triple off the wall in left center in the eighth.
“I liked seeing Cade and Von get going,” Forehand said. “Those are two guys we are going to be counting on this season.
Starting pitcher Adam Stewart lasted just 1.1 innings after allowing five earned runs. He also issued three walks and three hits before being relieved by senior Dallas Gibson.
Oakland got the scoring going when Zach Sterry blasted a solo homer in the top of the first. Lipscomb answered with an RBI ground from Zeke Dodson in the bottom of the frame.
The Grizzlies blew the game open in the top of the second by scoring five runs on just two hits. Lipscomb aided Oakland with two errors and three walks. The outburst was highlighted by RBI singles from Mike McGee and Myles Zilinsky.
Watson drilled a double to plate Sorrells in the second inning, trimming Oakland’s lead to 6-2.
Oakland tacked on four more in the top of the third thanks to a throwing error and RBI hits by Zilinksy, Tyler Janish, and Tyler Pagano. Connor Fannon then hit a run-scoring single in the sixth to put the Grizzlies up 11-2.
The Bisons bats showed signs of life in the bottom of the sixth after a single from Tevin Symonette brought in Dodson and an RBI base knock from Sorrells allowed Jake Perry to cross the plate. That cut Oakland’s lead to 11-4.
Symonette provided a highlight-reel moment when made an acrobatic catch against the left-field wall to rob Janish of a hit in the seventh.
Lipscomb scored four runs in the eighth to climb back into the game. Watson drilled a three-run triple off the wall to score Symonette, Sorrells, and Jackson Furstace. Watson scored a batter later when Hooker sent a sacrifice fly to right field.
Oakland added five insurance runs in the top of the ninth to prevent any further comeback from the Bisons.
Sorrells’ three-run bomb in the ninth made things interesting, but that would be all that Lipscomb would manage in the final frame.
“I really want to tip my cap to Oakland, they are a good team who pitched really solid all weekend,” Forehand said. “In the end this was just our first weekend of play. We will start clicking and get going.”
Around the Horn:
- Lipscomb is now 6-1 all-time against Oakland.
- The Bisons gave Oakland plenty of extra opportunities by committing three errors, hitting three batters, and issuing eight free passes.
- Sorrells’ four hits were a career high while his four RBI tied a career high set last season against N JIT.
- Nicko Ortega made his Lipscomb debut on Sunday. The Yavapai College transfer went three innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out two.
- Second-year southpaw Alex Dorso made his second straight appearance and tossed two scoreless innings.
- Senior righty Denton Norman pitched the final out of the ninth after Kyle Kemp struggled in his season debut.
- The game lasted 3:33 in front of 377 fans.
Lipscomb will look to get back on track when they host Middle Tennessee on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. at Dugan Field.