NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was well worth the wait.
The Lipscomb baseball team had to sit through a two-and-a-half hour rain delay Sunday afternoon in the ninth inning, but a walk-off RBI single from Blake Thomas lifted the Bisons over Kennesaw State 1-0, giving the fans still in attendance at Ken Dugan Field plenty to cheer about.
“It’s funny because I told the guys in the locker room during the delay that I would be the one to walk us off, even though I was the fifth batter of the inning,” Thomas said. “Honestly we weren’t sure if we would be able to finish the game out, but once we knew it was back on, we all got locked in and it was go time.
“But today belonged to Denton. That was some of the best pitching I have ever seen. He was locating every single pitch all day long. It was just incredible.”
Senior right-hander Denton Norman was masterful in his first start in over two years. The Katy, Texas native tossed eight scoreless innings and allowed just four hits while striking out five Owl batters.
“It felt great getting out there today, it has been a long journey back,” Norman said. “It has been over two years since I last started a game, so it was good to get back out there and get my feet wet.
“I didn’t think I would last eight innings, but my plan was to come out and get through some quick innings early and just get in a groove.”
Norman's last start came on April 4, 2015 in an 11-6 defeat to Jacksonville. The senior tore his UCL that day and later underwent Tommy John surgery, forcing him to redshirt in 2016. He has been effective out of the bullpen this season and made 19 appearances in relief before Sunday’s start.
“I can’t say enough about Norman, he was in total control of this game,” Forehand said. “It was hard to take him out of the bullpen because he has been our best arm down there, but I am so proud of him.
“This was a dominant performance.”
Senior lefty John Pryor tossed a scoreless top of the ninth to keep the game tied and give the Bisons a chance for the win. He picked up the victory and improved to 3-1 on the season.
“This was a big, big series win for us against a very good Kennesaw State team,” Norman said. “This is a big momentum boost for us going into the last weeks of conference play.”
In the bottom of the ninth, Lee Solomon singled and later stole second. Kennesaw State then intentionally walked Tevin Symonette, who swiped second on a double-steal play in which Solomon also took third.
Crisan was intentionally walked to load the bases for Thomas, who came through with a single that bounced past the shortstop and plated Solomon for the win.
“Any time you have to sit through a rain delay because it’s no fun,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “I hated it because this was such a good game. Both teams played really well and neither deserved to lose.
“But I can’t say enough about our guys. It is great to come away with a victory and the series win. That will put us in a good position as we close the season.”
Around the Horn:
- Hanks and Gigliotti each extended their on-base streaks to 17 games.
- Thomas was the only Lipscomb batter to register a multi-hit day, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
- Lipscomb mustered just six hits, but also drew five free passes.
- The Bisons stole four bases to push their season total to 77. Solomon is now tied with Gigliotti for the ASUN lead with 20 bags.
- Lipscomb left 10 men on base, compared to six for KSU.
Lipscomb will not play a midweek game this week as students finish final exams. The Bisons will host Mississippi Valley State for a three-game series starting with the opener on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Dugan Field.
“We need some rest, so this week is coming at a good time,” Forehand said. “Hopefully after the guys finish up their exams, we can get back to baseball and continue playing for a long time into June.”