NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Brady Puckett lived up to his preseason All-American hype Friday by pitching a one-hit shutout for his second win to start the 2017 season. The right-hander’s strong performance powered Lipscomb to a 2-0 victory over Bowling Green in the Mule Mix Classic at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“I felt really good out there tonight,” Puckett said. “I felt more comfortable tonight than I did last week, I guess I had to get my feet wet.
“But I also have to give credit to my defense. I always try to play and let them back me up and boy did they make some outstanding plays tonight.”
Puckett seemed to hardly break a sweat as he coasted through Bowling Green’s lineup. The 6-foot-9 junior struck out seven and issued just one free pass in what was his sixth career complete game.
“They (Bowling Green) came out aggressive, so I just kept trying to keep the ball down and get a lot of swings and misses,” Puckett said.
The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native faced just two batters over the minimum and needed only 96 pitches to get through all nine innings.
“When you have a Friday night guy who barley throws 90 pitches in a complete game, you’re not going to lose many,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “Brady was outstanding tonight. This was his game, I wasn’t going to take him out of that one.
“That’s guy we bank on every Friday night.”
Bowling Green’s lone hit of the night came in the top of the fourth when Jake Wilson hit a ball deep up the middle that carried Lipscomb’s shortstop Blake Thomas across the bag at second. After somehow getting to the grounder, he spun and threw a ball that brought Cade Sorrells off the bag at first for a bang-bang play.
After the hit, Puckett settled down and retired 14 of the final 17 batters. One reached on a walk while the other two on fielding errors.
The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the third when Lee Solomon grounded into a double play, allowing Allan Hooker to score.
Lipscomb nearly added to its advantage in the fifth, but Bowling Green’s Logan Giddings made a diving grab to rob Blake Thomas of extra bases and an RBI.
Jake Perry lined a run-scoring single to put the Bisons ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth. That would be all Lipscomb needed offensively.
Dodson, Perry, and Hooker each finished with a pair of hits. All of Lipscomb’s seven base hits were singles.
“Our offense isn’t clicking just yet, but I am not worried,” Forehand said. “It is encouraging that even though we aren’t scoring runs we are still finding ways to win and that says a lot about our staff.”
Around the Horn:
- Friday’s game was the first meeting between the two schools.
- Lipscomb has now picked up wins in 15 of the last 17 games Puckett has started.
- Ryan McHale made his college debut and was in the starting lineup at DH. He went 0-for-2.
- Solomon’s 23-game on-base streak came to an end on Friday. The streak had carried over from last season.
- Bowling Green only reached base twice and Jake Wilson had the Falcons’ only hit.
- Game time was 2:14 and 367 people were in attendance.
Lipscomb will welcome the Missouri State Bears on Saturday for another Mule Mix Classic matchup. Jeffrey Passantino (0-0, 1.80 ERA) is set to make his second start of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.