NEWARK, N.J. – Pitching was scarce Saturday afternoon at rain-soaked Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium as Lipscomb survived a wild ASUN Conference slugfest against NJIT, 15-10.
The Bisons and Highlanders combined for 25 runs on 31 hits in what turned out to be a final score that seemed more fitting for a football game.
Lipscomb surrendered leads of 3-1 and 8-4 before scoring five times in the top of the seventh to grab the lead for good.
“I really like that we jumped on them (NJIT) with runs in the first inning for the second straight day,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “But today we knew they would fire back at us and I told the guys they had to be ready and I think we did that.
“We answered every time NJIT made a run and that was what I liked to see. This was a good win for our club.”
Trailing 10-9 with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, Zeke Dodson drew a walk to bring home Michael Gigliotti and level the score. Cade Sorrells knocked in the go-ahead run on a ground ball to second base, after he was robbed of what looked to at least be a double down the left field line when the umpire called the ball foul.
Jake Perry then broke the game open with a three-run bomb to left center field, his team-leading fifth homer of the season, giving Lipscomb a 14-10 advantage.
Five different Bisons collected multiple hits on the afternoon, led by Perry. The junior designated hitter reached base five times after going 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, a walk and two runs scored. He also tied his career high with four RBI.
Sorrells got the game started with a bang in the top of the first when he launched a three-run home run to open the scoring.
“For Cade to come through with a big homer with two outs and two strikes, I felt that really set the stage for the game,” Forehand said.
The sophomore first baseman finished the game 2-for-6 with two runs scored and a career-high tying four RBI.
Also with a multiple RBI day was Dodson. The sophomore third baseman was 2-for-5 with two RBI, two runs, a double and a walk. He posted his team-leading 12th multiple-hit game of the year.
Sophomore Kyle Kemp came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and came up with three big innings to thwart any kind of comeback the Highlanders had in mind. He tossed three scoreless frames while only giving up two hits and registering one strikeout. He faced 12 batters to earn his second save of the season.
The Bisons recovered from their first deficit of the game in the top of the fifth when they combined for six hits and two walks to plate five runs. Dodson, Lee Solomon and Blake Thomas all came up with RBI singles in the frame.
The back and forth battle continued as the Highlanders recaptured their final lead of the day in the bottom of the sixth with four runs on five hits before the Bisons struck with their five-run top of the seventh.
Senior southpaw John Pryor tossed the sixth inning to pick up the win and improve to 2-1 on the season. He allowed one run on two hits.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb improved to 5-0 all-time against NJIT.
- Allan Hooker got the start in right field and finished 1-for-5, but his one hit was a solo home run to left center in the top of the sixth. It was his second long ball of the season.
- The Bisons sent 11 men to the plate in the fifth frame, marking the second time of the series they batted around in an inning.
- The three home runs were the most in a game for Lipscomb since smashing three against Evansville on March 24.
- Lipscomb and NJIT combined to send 101 batter to the plate.
- Tyler Bethune (3-for-6) and Solomon (2-for-4) also added multiple hit days for the Bisons. Bethune drove in his fifth RBI of the season and scored a run. Solomon scored twice, added an RBI and collected his team-leading 12th double of the year.
- Hunter Hanks (1-for-4) scored twice and drew a team-high two walks.
- Solomon swiped two bases in the win, giving him 16 on the season – just one behind Gigliotti for the team lead.
- Game time was 3:58 with 488 in attendance.
The Bisons and Highlanders will close the series at 11 a.m. Sunday at Riverfront Stadium. Brady Puckett (4-4, 4.45 ERA) will toe the rubber for Lipscomb.
“We had three big homers, we got our bunt game going and we stole some bases,” Forehand said. “That’s who we are and when those things are happening we are tough to beat. I really see our team taking a stride and hopefully we can take that energy into tomorrow and back Brady up with it.”