NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb baseball team set a new school record in walks and starting pitcher Brady Puckett went the distance as the Bisons rolled to a 13-2 victory over Kennesaw State on Saturday at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
The win improves Lipscomb to 21-19 overall and 7-7 in ASUN Conference action, and gives the Bisons a chance to take the series from Kennesaw State on Sunday.
Puckett surrendered a pair of doubles and a run in the first inning, but soon settled in and worked through the Kennesaw State lineup with efficiency. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native needed just 100 pitches for the complete-game effort and surrendered two runs while striking out four.
“You have to talk about Brady first,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “They (KSU) came out swinging on him and scored early, but then he was pretty much flawless the rest of the way.
“I think he was pitching his best in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. I sound like a broken record, but he gives us that performance every time out.”
Saturday’s victory marked Puckett’s eighth-career complete game, surpassing the previous record of seven set by former Lipscomb and current Nashville Sounds pitcher Josh Smith.
“It’s cool to see my name on top of the record books,” Puckett said. “Truth be told, I wasn’t even aware of it going in. I could not have finished this one out if I didn’t get a lot of breaks between innings. Our offense was doing work today and it allowed me to get some rest.”
Offensively, the Bisons pounded out 13 base hits and drew 14 free passes, topping the previous school record of 13 set in 2011. Dodson and Sorrells tied their career highs by drawing three walks apiece.
Senior second baseman Hunter Hanks led the hit parade for the Bisons, going 3-for-6. The Florida native also set a career high with six RBI.
“When I step in the box, I am just trying to see the ball well and keep my timing in rhythm,” Hanks said. “I was battling with two strikes in every at-bat today, and when that happens you just have to keep grinding until you get something you can handle and fortunately I was able to do that three times today.”
Michael Gigliotti, Cade Sorrells, and Jeffrey Crisan each finished with a pair of base knocks.
Lipscomb got on the board in the bottom of the second when Sorrells drew a bases-loaded walk. In the third, Hanks gave the Bisons a 3-2 lead with a 2-run homer that nearly nicked the foul pole in left field.
“I am just trying to enjoy one last ride here at Lipscomb and not put any pressure on myself to overachieve,” Hanks said.
The Bisons blew the game open by scoring seven runs to take a commanding 10-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Lipscomb played station-to-station baseball for much of the inning before Hanks lined a 3-RBI double down the chalk at third into the left field corner.
In the sixth, Hanks drove in another run with an RBI single after Crisan scored on an error and Gigliotti crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Kennesaw State was led by first baseman Austin Upshaw, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI double.
Around the Horn:
- Eight different batters recorded a base hit for Lipscomb in the win, while five picked up an RBI.
- Hanks’ six runs driven in tied him for fourth most RBI in a game in Lipscomb’s NCAA era. The record is seven.
- The 13 base knocks marks the fifth time in the last seven games that the Bisons recorded double-digit hits.
- Lipscomb did not issue a walk on the mound for the first time since March 25 against Evansville, and just the fourth time all season.
- Puckett’s complete-game effort was his third of the season.
- Hanks and Gigliotti extended their on-base streaks to 16 games.
- Perry snapped his six-game hitting streak with an 0-for-5 performance.
- Despite scoring 13 runs, the Bisons also left 13 runners on base.
- Lipscomb matched a season high with seven swiped bags, including two by Allan Hooker and Lee Solomon.
- 37 of Lipscomb’s 73 stolen bases have come against ASUN opponents.
- Solomon now has 18 stolen bases on the season, two behind Gigliotti for the ASUN lead.
- Sorrells notched his 12th multi-hit game of the season. Dodson leads the squad with 13.
- Hanks picked up his seventh multi-RBI game of the year, just one behind Perry for the team lead.
- Five players scored multiple runs for the Bisons.
- Crisan went 2-for-3, giving him his third multi-hit performance in four games.
Lipscomb and Kennesaw State will play the series-deciding finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. Senior Denton Norman (3-3, 2.08 ERA) will make his first start of the season after making 19 appearances out of the bullpen this season.
“Tomorrow will be the first start in a while for Norman, so I know he is excited about that,” Forehand said. “If we can get off to a good start, it should be a good day for us.”