NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dayton Tripp was nervous all day when thinking about making his first career start as a Bison and it was not until he got into the bullpen before the game that everything seemed to calm down. After all, it is just baseball, a game he has played his entire life.
The junior transfer was dynamite from the first pitch. He mowed down nine batters in Lipscomb's 3-2 win over Middle Tennessee Wednesday night at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“Now that the game is over, the feeling is awesome,” Tripp said. “All day I had people coming up to me talking about it and I started getting nervous. But once I stepped into the bullpen those feelings went away. My main goal was to stay ahead and throw strikes.”
Throw strikes is just what Tripp did. He threw a first-pitch strike to 20-of-27 hitters and of his 99 pitches, 74 of them went for strikes. In 7.0 innings of work he only allowed two runs on five hits.
After retiring the Blue Raiders (1-3) six of the first seven batters he faced, Tripp ran into a little bit of tough luck in the third frame. Designated hitter Elliott Curtis pulled a ball deep in the hole that Lipscomb second baseman Lee Solomon could not come up with. Two batters later, Riley Delgado poked a ball just inside the right field line that was barely out of the reach of right fielder Allan Hooker, leading to an RBI-double.
Later in the frame Austin Dennis hit a double to left field, scoring Delgado to give Middle Tennessee a 2-0 lead.
Lipscomb (3-1) struck back in the bottom half of the stanza with all the runs it would need.
Hooker led off with a two-bagger down the right field line before catcher Jeffrey Crisan laced a ball over fielder’s head in left for a double of his own and his first RBI of the season.
Sophomore shortstop Jackson Furstace ripped a third consecutive hit for the Bisons with a single to right field. Preseason All-American Michael Gigliotti then knocked in Crisan with a sacrifice fly to deep center to knot the game at 2-2. The RBI is the first of the season for the junior center fielder.
Two batters later, Furstace would score the eventual game-winning run on a wild pitch in the dirt that found its way to the backstop.
After Lipscomb took the lead, Tripp was in cruise control. He struck out the side in the top of the fourth and retired 12 of his final 14 batters faced. The only two that reached came on a single and a walk.
“I can’t say enough about the job that Dayton did,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “This is why we signed him, we knew he could throw strikes. It was awesome to see him perform the way he did in his first start.”
After Tripp was lifted, Forehand went to the pen. Senior Denton Norman needed just 12 pitches to toss a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout.
Sophomore Kyle Kemp picked up his first career save on 12 pitches in the ninth. He allowed one hit and struck out one.
Two-way player Devin Conn took the loss for the Blue Raiders after allowing three runs on three hits in 4.0 innings of work.
Around the Horn:
- Tripp’s nine punchouts are the most by a Bison since Brady Puckett struck out 10 against NJIT on April 29, 2016.
- Middle Tennessee outhit Lipscomb 6-4. It is the third straight game the Bisons have been outhit.
- Four Bisons recorded a hit Wednesday (Tevin Symonette, Hooker, Crisan, Furstace).
- Gigliotti continues to find a way on base. He was walked twice and hit by a pitch once in the win. His on-base percentage sits at .500.
- Gigliotti swiped his ASUN-leading third stolen base, but also got caught once.
- The ASUN’s leading hitter Cade Sorrells finished 0-for-2, but did draw two walks.
- Coach Forehand is 10 wins shy of his 500thcareer victory as a college head coach.
- Game time was 2-hour and 22-minutes.
This weekend Lipscomb will play host, along with Belmont and Middle Tennessee, to the 2017 Mule Mix Classic. The trio of teams will welcome Bowling Green, Missouri State and Northwestern to the Music City.
The Bisons will face off with Bowling Green at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at Dugan Field, before hosting Missouri State at 2 p.m. Saturday and Northwestern at 1 p.m. Sunday.