NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Kennesaw State hit a pair of home runs and Owl starter Tony Dibrell shut down the Lipscomb team to defeat the Bisons 4-1 Friday evening in ASUN Conference action at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
Lipscomb managed just six hits and did not score a run until the bottom of the ninth, when Jake Perry launched his seventh home run of the season.
Dibrell went eight shutout innings for KSU and allowed only four hits while striking out five Bisons. He improved his record to 5-3.
The story of the night for Lipscomb was hitting with men on base. The Bisons were 0-for-15 with runners on and 0-for-9 with men in scoring position.
“Plain and simple we didn’t execute the small things tonight,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “We couldn’t get the bunt down when we had guys on base and that’s our bread and butter.
“But we have to give them (KSU) credit. Tony (Dibrell) pitched fantastic tonight for them.”
Lipscomb’s first real scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the third frame, but unfortunately it was with two outs. Michael Gigliotti got hit by a pitch, then stole second and third to stand 90 feet from cutting into the Owls’ 2-0 lead. Following a Lee Solomon free pass, Hunter Hanks flied out to left to strand the Bisons.
In the home half of the seventh, it was once again Lipscomb trying to get on the scoreboard. Jake Perry doubled to lead off the stanza before Tevin Symonette drew a four-pitch walk. After a foul out and a strikeout, Gigliotti worked a walk to load the bases. The best threat of the night went unrewarded when Solomon flied out to right on three pitches.
Lipscomb’s junior right-hander Jeffrey Passantino delivered another quality start, but took the hard-luck loss, falling to 2-2. He went seven strong innings and allowed just two runs on just four hits while striking out six.
Kennesaw State jumped out to an early lead when Chris Erwin produced an RBI single in the first. Garrett Hodges made it 2-0 with a solo homer in the third, and the Owls did not score again until Corey Gresson’s two-run bomb in the top of the ninth.
All four of KSU’s runs came with two outs on the board.
“Kennesaw scored four times with two outs,” Forehand said. “When they are getting those clutch hits and we aren’t, it is going to be tough for us to win.”
Perry tried to mount a rally in the ninth when he blasted a solo homer over the left field fence, but it was not to be. However, the Maple Woods Community College transfer did go 3-for-4 to push his average to .301.
“Jake had a good game, he really swung it well,” Forehand said. “He is really seeing the ball right now and I hope it continues.”
Around the Horn:
- Perry finished with a game high three hits to extend his team-leading hit streak to six games. The backstop now has five multiple-hit performances in his last six games.
- During his six-game hit streak, Perry has raised his season batting average from .231 to .301 – the second highest clip on the Bisons.
- Hanks and Gigliotti extended their on-base streaks to 15 games.
- However, Gigliotti went 0-for-3 to stall his hitting streak at 10.
- The Bisons left nine men on base compared to just five for the Owls.
- Allan Hooker produced a pinch-hit double in the ninth – the first base hit from a Bison pinch hitter this season.
- Lipscomb drew five walks, including two by sophomore Zeke Dodson.
- John Pryor relived Passantino in the eighth for his 22ndappearance of the season. He went two innings and struck out a pair of batters, but also surrendered a two-run homer in the ninth.
- Gigliotti stole two bases to give him 19 on the season. That ties Stetson’s Jacob Koos for the most in the ASUN this season.
- Dodson swiped his third bag.
Lipscomb and Kennesaw State will meet for Game 2 of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Nashville. Junior righty Brady Puckett (5-4, 4.16 ERA) will get the nod on the mound for the Bisons.
“I told the guys we will be fine, we have to put this one behind us and come out tomorrow and execute better,” Forehand said.