MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team got the week started on a strong offensive note Wednesday night in Murfreesboro, rounding the bases repeatedly en route to a 16-2 drubbing of Middle Tennessee at Reese Smith Jr. Field in nonconference action.
The Bisons (12-8) scored 11 unanswered runs, highlighted by a 9-run sixth innings, to end the game and pick up their fourth straight victory.
“Everybody just did their job tonight,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “We had a couple big innings and I thought that really swung the game. We have been talking about our offense is coming along. This is what we are capable of and I am glad to finally see it.”
In the nine-run frame the Purple and Gold brought a season high 12 men to the plate and used a combination of power and patience to blow the game open. After Middle Tennessee (8-12) went to the bullpen, the Bisons quickly began to rack up free bases. When the stanza was over, Lipscomb had six walks, a hit by pitch, three hits – two doubles – and the biggest inning of the season.
“The whole lineup from top to bottom produced tonight,” Forehand said. I can’t really single anyone out. This is what we expect and hopefully this will continue as we inch closer to conference play.”
Lipscomb used an all-around attack at the plate to collect a season-high 18 base knocks. Eight different players recorded a hit and an RBI.
Junior shortstop Blake Thomas led the hit parade, notching a career high in hits and runs. The Mount Sterling, Kentucky native finished the contest 4-for-5 at the plate with three runs and a leadoff double in the fourth.
Senior second baseman Hunter Hanks tied his career high with four RBI after going 3-for-4. Hanks also scored twice and hit two doubles, including a 3-RBI shot to left center in the sixth frame, for the third time in his career.
Sophomore first baseman Cade Sorrells and senior catcher Tyler Bethune also added three-hit days at the dish. Sorrells was 3-for-3 with two runs, two walks and a RBI. He now has six multi-hit games on the year.
Bethune went 3-for-6, marking the fifth time of his career he has three hits in a game.
Sophomore left fielder Lee Solomon and junior designated hitter Jake Perry each added three RBI apiece. Solomon turned in a 2-for-3 night with three RBI, three runs, a walk and a stolen base. He now leads the ASUN with eight swipes this season.
Perry was just 1-for-4, but his knock busted the game open for the Bisons in the fifth frame. With Lipscomb leading 1-0 and runners on the corners, Perry launched a ball to the wall in right center to bring home both runs and extend the lead to 3-1.
Junior transfer Nicko Ortega got his first career start on the mound for Lipscomb. He tossed 4.2 innings and gave up two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks in a no-decision effort.
“Nicko did a tremendous job making his first start of the year and he really got us started on a good pace,” Forehand said.
Dallas Gibson entered in relief and picked up the win for the Bisons to improve to 0-1. He tossed one-third of an inning, but got the Bisons out of a big jam in the fifth.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb improved to 17-16 against the Blue Raiders in the school’s NCAA era. After downing MT 3-2 earlier in the season, the Bisons have won 11 of the last 13 in the series and swept the Blue Raiders for the second time in the last three seasons.
- The 16 runs are the most for Lipscomb since scoring 22 against NJIT on April 30, 2016.
- Gigliotti extended his on-base streak to 20 games after reaching in every contest this season. He went 0-for-4 on the night, but drew two more walks to push his ASUN-leading total to 22. He also scored twice and stole his seventh base of the season.
- Hanks tied his career single game high with two doubles. The previous time was at FGCU on May 14, 2016.
- Solomon notched two doubles in the win, matching his career high. It was the second time in three games he achieved the feat, giving him a team high eight two-baggers on the year. He also pushed his team-leading run total to 22.
- Perry took over the team lead in RBI in the win with 19. He also has a team high five games with multi-RBI.
- The Bisons recorded a season high six doubles in the game.
- Coach Forehand is now just one win shy of No. 500 for his career.
- Adam Stewart, Kyle Kemp, John Pryor and Denton Norman all made relief appearances. They combined to toss 4.0 frames with three hits, no runs and five punchouts.
Lipscomb returns home this weekend for a three-game stretch against the Evansville Aces. Friday’s opener is scheduled for a 6 p.m. first pitch.