NEWARK, N.J. – Jeffrey Crisan’s sudden power surge propelled the Lipscomb baseball team to a feat it had only accomplished once this season – a three-game sweep.
The junior backstop swatted two home runs over the left field fence Sunday afternoon to lift the Bisons to an 8-3 victory over NJIT to complete a sweep of the Highlanders at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.
Lipscomb moves past Florida Gulf Coast into fifth and is now just one game behind Kennesaw State.
The Bisons only other sweep this season came against Illinois State in March. Lipscomb improved to 20-17 overall and 6-6 in league play, while NJIT fell to 4-31 and 0-12.
Crisan entered the finale with zero home runs this season and only one for his career – a solo shot against Northern Kentucky as a freshman on May 14, 2015.
For the third straight day the Bisons jumped out to a first-inning lead when Zeke Dodson brought home Michael Gigliotti on a sacrifice fly to center field. Gigliotti drew a leadoff walk before moving to third on a Lee Solomon single.
NJIT evened the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame when Justin Etts brought home Matt Cocciadiferro on a bunt single – the third consecutive base hit for the Highlanders.
Lipscomb would hang its sixth crooked inning of the weekend on the board with four runs in the top of the second. Crisan started the fireworks with a 2-run blast that also brought home Von Watson, who reached on an error.
After loading the bases on a bunt and two walks, Dodson ripped an RBI single to left field before Cade Sorrells followed with an RBI double to put Lipscomb on top 5-1.
The Highlanders got to Lipscomb starter Brady Puckett in the fifth and seventh by taking advantage of three Bisons errors to cut the lead to 5-3.
Crisan responded with his second 2-run bomb of the afternoon in the top of the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Lipscomb added a final insurance tally in the ninth when Sorrells knocked in Solomon with a single to right field. Solomon doubled to lead off the frame for his third hit of the day.
Junior right-hander Brady Puckett improved to 5-4 with the win after tossing 6.1 innings. The Murfreesboro native allowed three runs (one earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Senior Denton Norman came on in relief in the seventh stanza with runners on the corners and got the Bisons out of the jam. He pitched the final 2.2 innings to earn his fifth save of the season. Norman did not allow a hit, while recording two strikeouts and a walk.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Six different Lipscomb batters recorded hits, including five with multiple hits.
- Crisan finished 3-for-4 with two homers, four RBI and two runs. He entered Sunday with just six RBI on the season.
- Solomon also collected three hits, going 3-for-5 with his 13th double of the year and a run scored.
- Dodson and Sorrells each went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Dodson ripped his ninth two-bagger of the season, while Sorrells hit his fourth. Sorrells also stole his seventh base.
- Gigliotti recorded a 2-for-4 game with two runs and his 35th walk of the year.
- Hunter Hanks scored a run, drew a walk and stole his sixth base in the win.
- Lipscomb and NJIT both left eight men on base.
- Gigliotti pushed his hitting streak to a nine games, while he and Hanks extended their on-base streaks to 13.
- Dodson leads the team with 13 multi-hit games on the year.
- The Bisons collected 44 hits in the series and have now notched double-digit base knocks in a season high four straight games.
- The five home runs in the series are a season high. Lipscomb hit multiple home runs in back-to-back games for the first time all season – three on Saturday and two on Sunday.
- The 13 stolen bases are the most in a series this season.
Lipscomb returns home Tuesday to begin an 8-game homestand. The Bisons will host rival Belmont at 6 p.m. at Dugan Field before entertaining Kennesaw State for three games next weekend.