|March 19, 2017||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: KEMP (2-1)||4.0||0||0||0||0||4|
|Loss: Huffman (1-1)||3.2||5||5||5||2||1|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the Lipscomb baseball team did some spring cleaning Sunday with an 8-3 victory to complete a weekend sweep of Illinois State at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“Coming off a few tough losses last week, I don’t think any of our guys ever waivered, we knew how we could play,” head coach Jeff Forehand said. “We did a lot of things this weekend that we haven’t been doing consistently throughout the year, up and down the lineup and it showed. I thought our guys played great from the start today and if feels good to get a sweep.”
The win finished off the first series sweep of the season for Lipscomb, and the first since taking all three on the road at Stetson May 19-21, 2016.
Lipscomb (11-8) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Zeke Dodson to score Michael Gigliotti, who reached on a leadoff single before stealing second and third. Jake Perry then continued a big weekend by driving in his fifth RBI of the series to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the second frame, Illinois State (5-11) took advantage of a dropped popup by Lipscomb with two outs and leveled the contest with an RBI-single from Joe Aeilts.
Junior transfer Dayton Tripp made his first start of the season as a part of the weekend rotation. He lasted 4.0 innings and gave up one earned run on five hits in 68 pitches.
Sophomore reliever Kyle Kemp was the first out of the pen and completely shut the Redbirds down for four innings. He retired all 12 batters he faced with four strikeouts, including striking out the side in the seventh. Kemp picked up the win and improved to 2-1 on the season.
The Bisons added a third run in the bottom of the third on an RBI-double from Dodson, making it 3-2.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Lee Solomon broke the game wide open when a hesitant swing somehow found a hole into right field. Two runs crossed on the play before Gigliotti was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first.
Lipscomb added its final three runs in the seventh frame when Allan Hooker belted his first home run of the season to left field before Dodson and Blake Thomas each added sacrifice flies.
Ryan Stevens worked the ninth inning for the Bisons and allowed a run on an Anthony Sanchez pinch-hit single.
After struggling at the plate to begin the season, Gigliotti seems to have broken out of his slump. The junior outfielder extended his team-high hitting streak to seven games and has also reached in all 19 games this season after going 3-for-4 at the dish.
“I still have all the confidence in the world,” Gigliotti said. “I was just having some timing issues, but I have been working hard with (Brad) Coon to get that rhythm back. But this win today was big for our team. It was a good sweep.”
Gigliotti ripped two singles and a double, while also scoring twice and stealing two bases.
“It’s nice when we have all of our cylinders clicking – hitting, pitching and defense,” Gigliotti said. “We have a good group of guys here and when we are rolling, we are tough to beat.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb improves to 6-1 all-time against the Redbirds, winning all six meetings in Nashville.
- The Bisons pitching staff has not yielded a walk in either of their last two games. That’s the first times this season that has happened. The staff combined for 21 strikeouts and just 5 walks in the series.
- Sorrells drew a career-high three walks Sunday. He went 0-for-1 with two runs.
- The three hits were a season high for Gigliotti and just his second multi-hit game of the year.
- Gigliotti swiped his 37th and 38th career stolen bases in the first frame. With six on the season, he only trails Solomon (7) for the team lead.
- Dodson finished 1-for-1 but drove in a season high three RBI. It is his second multi-RBI contest of the campaign.
- Solomon extended his hitting streak to a season best four games.
- Hooker’s deep shot was his first homer since USC Upstate on April 9, 2016. He also added his second double of the season, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI.
- Thomas added his fifth RBI of the season on a sac fly late.
- Coach Forehand is now just two wins shy of reaching No. 500 for his career.
Lipscomb goes on the road Tuesday to Middle Tennessee for a 6 p.m. tilt before returning home to host Evansville for three games in the final weekend before ASUN play begins.
“We try to prepare every weekend like it’s a conference series,” Forehand said. “Hopefully we can build off this with ASUN play approaching in a couple of weeks. We just have to continue getting good production from the top to the bottom of the lineup.”