NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The weekend continued to be a struggle for the Lipscomb baseball team Saturday afternoon as the Bisons saw a three-run lead slip away in a 7-5 loss to North Florida in ASUN Conference action at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
UNF also won the series opener on Friday, handing the Bisons just their second series defeat at home this season. The Ospreys moved into a tie for first place in the conference with the win. UNF is 22-12 overall and 4-1 in league play, while Lipscomb fell to 16-14 and 2-3.
“This was a tough loss, because we were leading for most of the game and even after they came back and tied it we were still looking good,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “But it didn’t go our way. We were a hit or two away from it being a different story. This was just one of those games where they played better than we did.”
UNF showed its offensive prowess again by pounding out 13 hits, its second straight day with double digit base knocks. The Ospreys erased a 4-1 deficit by scoring six runs over four innings, capped by a 3-run seventh, to take the lead for good.
Lipscomb built an early lead in the opening stanza after Michael Gigliotti got the offense rolling with a leadoff double. Lee Solomon then laid down a perfect bunt that he was able to beat the throw before the ball got past the first baseman and rolled into the right field corner. Gigliotti scored from second and Solomon advanced into scoring position. Hunter Hanks then drove in Solomon with a single through the left side of the infield.
In the third inning, Lipscomb doubled its lead on a 2-run home run from Hanks, his second long ball of the series.
From there UNF began chipping into the Bisons lead with two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth before chasing Lipscomb starter Jeffrey Passantino with three runs in the seventh.
Passantino (1-1) pitched 6.2 innings and gave up seven runs on a career high 12 hits allowed. He struck out two and walked one, just his sixth free pass of the season.
Lipscomb tried to mount a 2-out rally in the bottom of the seventh when Solomon, Cade Sorrells and Zeke Dodson laced three consecutive singles off UNF’s Anthony Delaney. The rally fell short when Jake Perry grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
UNF starter Frank German entered the game unblemished at 5-0 and seemed to be heading for the loss before his teammates picked him up late. The righty allowed a season high four runs on six hits in 4.2 frames. German has surrendered just eight runs all season entering the tilt.
Delaney picked up the win for UNF and moved to 5-1 on the season.
“We are just trying to play as well as we can no matter if it’s at home or on the road,” Forehand said. “We have to hit better and make more plays, but North Florida had a lot to do with that. I just challenged our guys to come back out and play better tomorrow.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb finished with 11 hits in the loss.
- Solomon led the team and tied his season high with three base knocks. He also scored a team high two runs.
- Gigliotti picked up his fifth multi-hit game of the season after going 2-for-4. His first inning double was seventh of the year.
- Dodson reached in his first four plate appearances on two hits and two walks. He drove in a run and stole his second base of the season.
- Solomon swiped his 14th stolen bag of the year.
- Hanks drove in a game-high three runs. He has two home runs on the weekend and three on the season – all three have come in ASUN play.
- John Pryor tossed the final 2.1 innings for the Bisons. He allowed just one hit.
- Lipscomb left eight men on base, while UNF left six.
Lipscomb and UNF will wrap its three-game series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Dugan Field. Dayton Tripp (2-2, 7.52 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Bisons and will match up with Brad Depperman (2-1, 5.72 ERA) of North Florida.
“Tomorrow is a big game for us, it’s our last chance to get a win out of this series,” Forehand said.