NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Zeke Dodson took four straight balls to walk the Bisons off, 4-3, and take the series against Evansville Saturday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“We are glad to get that win,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “The story of that game was all about the starting pitching on both sides. Offensively we weren’t at our best, but we did what we needed to do to get the victory and I will take that any day of the week.”
Michael Gigliotti reached base on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a throwing error in the final frame. He then stole third before Lee Solomon and Cade Sorrells were both intentionally walked. Dodson’s free pass brought in Gigliotti and gave Lipscomb its sixth consecutive victory.
Jeffrey Passantino delivered another outstanding performance on the mound, but was unable to pick up the win after allowing a game-tying, 2-run homer in the eighth. The junior right-hander gave up nine hits and allowed three earned runs in 8.0 innings of work. After giving up a run in the second, he pitched five straight scoreless innings and finished with 10 strikeouts for the second straight outing.
“Jeff pitched another great game,” Forehand said. “He made one bad pitch and the guy hit a game-tying home run. That was the only ball they hit hard all day. I hate it for him because he pitched so well and came away with another no-decision.
“But in the end we won the game and we are going to celebrate that.”
This Bisons (14-8) knotted the score at one when Blake Thomas stole home on a delayed steal as Jeffrey Crisan baited the catcher into throwing the ball into the outfield.
Sorrells made it 2-1 when he singled in Gigliotti in the third. The Bisons added another run in the seventh after Von Watson drew a bases-loaded walk.
The Purple Aces (7-15) knotted the contest at three with Travis Tokarek’s two-run blast to right in the eighth.0
Senior reliever Denton Norman pitched a scoreless ninth inning and improved to 2-1 after picking up the victory.
Evansville’s Connor Strain kept the hot Lipscomb lineup in check for most of the afternoon, tossing 5.2 innings of three-run ball. He struck out five and surrendered seven hits. Brandon Gomer took the loss for the visitors when he walked four in 1.1 frames.
“Our offense kind of struggled today, but Evansville starter was really good,” Forehand said.
Around the Horn:
- Control proved to be the difference in the game as Lipscomb drew nine walks and did not issues any free passes. It was the third time this season the staff did not walk a single batter.
- Passantino’s 10 punchouts tie a career high, set previously on two occasions.
- Sorrells was the only Bison to record a multi-hit game, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. He is tied with Dodson for a team-high seven multi-hit games this season.
- Dodson extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the third.
- Solomon and Dodson are riding a team-best seven game on-base streak.
- Dodson now has three walk-off at-bats in his career. Last season against USC Upstate in the ASUN opening series for the Bisons, Dodson collected back-to-back walk-off base knocks.
- Saturday’s game marked the fifth consecutive game in which the Bisons have allowed three runs or fewer. Lipscomb only accomplished that feat four times in the first 17 games.
Lipscomb and Evansville will play the series finale on Sunday at Dugan Field. Dayton Tripp (2-0, 4.50 ERA) will get the nod on the mound. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
“Evansville is a good team so we need to come out tomorrow and execute better than we did today,” Forehand said. “I am proud of our guys for being in a tight game and fighting back to find a way to win.
“If everyone finds a way to do their job, we will be in good shape.”