AUBURN, Ala. – One week after a one-hit, complete-game shutout against Bowling Green, junior hurler Brady Puckett and the Lipscomb baseball team did not have their best stuff on Friday.
In the opening game of a three-game series at Plainsman Park, the Auburn Tigers knocked off the Bisons 8-0. The shutout for Auburn is its national-leading fifth of the season.
“Overall Auburn outplayed us today and we ran into some tough pitching,” Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. “Auburn’s starter was really, really good today. He was really effective in the strike zone and we were only able to manage one hit off of him.
“Offensively we hit the ball hard at times, but they were right at guys. We also know that if you don’t score you can’t win.”
Puckett lasted just 4.1 innings and gave up a career high 12 hits. The 6-foot-9 right-hander surrendered seven runs and three walks with a season-low one strikeout while falling to 2-1 on the year.
“It usually doesn’t happen much, but Brady wasn’t as sharp as he normally is,” Forehand said. “He was giving up some harmless singles and they were able to get some runs out of it. He will bounce back next week.”
Auburn (8-2) would string together a trio of hits in the bottom of the second to grab a 2-0 lead off Puckett. The Tigers then plated two runs in the fourth inning and three in the fifth, taking advantage of leadoff singles to score the insurance tallies. They would push across the final run on the afternoon in the bottom of the eighth on a single by Sam Gillikin.
The first hit of the afternoon for the Bisons (6-3) came on a leadoff single from right fielder Allan Hooker in the top of the third. The redshirt junior moved to second on a walk from Michael Gigliotti before advancing to third on a passed ball. A groundball from Zeke Dodson ended the first of only two threats of the day by the Bisons.
Lipscomb finally got things rolling in the top of the ninth when Gigliotti reached to lead off the frame after getting plunked in the back. Two batters later Dodson drilled his second double of the season into the left center gap to put runners on second and third.
Sophomore first baseman Cade Sorrells then drew a free pass to load the bases for catcher Tyler Bethune, who struck out in his first at-bat of the season. Designated hitter Josh Martinez followed it up with a chopper to second on the first pitch for the final out.
Keegan Thompson was lights on the hill in a third consecutive start for Auburn. The junior righty tossed 7.0 frames while allowing just three base runners – one hit and two walks. Thompson retired 14 straight Bisons before being lifted and extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings to begin the season. He moves to 3-0 with the win.
“I told the guys we entered the game with high expectations because we have a good team, but we just got outplayed,” Forehand said. “The byproduct of that is we have to come back tomorrow and hopefully make up for it.”
Around the Horn:
- Auburn takes a 2-1 lead in the all-time series with the win.
- The Tigers outhit the Bisons 15-2. The two hits are the fewest since registering two against North Florida in the ASUN Championship last season.
- Friday’s outing was the shortest for Puckett since tossing 3.2 innings against Kennesaw State on April 26, 2015.
- Puckett’s 12 hits allowed are just the second time in his career that the righty allowed double-digit base knocks, while his seven runs allowed tied a career high set Dallas Baptist last season.
- Gigliotti’s third-inning walk was his ASUN-leading 10th of the season. He has reached base in all nine games. The junior center fielder has now found a way on base in 107-of-116 career games.
- Auburn sat down 17 consecutive batters from the third inning to the ninth, bookended by a walk and hit by pitch from Gigliotti.
- Only two baserunners all day reached third for the Purple and Gold.
- Alex Dorso and Nicko Ortega made relief appearances out of the bullpen.
- Bethune made his season debut behind the plate in the loss.
- Auburn has not allowed a single run through the first three Friday’s of 2017.
- Auburn left 13 men on base compared to six for Lipscomb.
Lipscomb and Auburn are set to tangle again at Noon on Saturday. Junior Jeffrey Passantino (0-0, 4.35 ERA) will get the nod for the Bisons and will be facing off with Casey Mize (2-0, 0.00 ERA). The tilt will not be televised, but live stats will be available.