FORT MYERS, Fla. – After climbing itself out of an early hole, the Lipscomb baseball team, despite numerous opportunities, could not find enough runs as Florida Gulf Coast walked off, 4-3, in the 11th inning Friday night in a pivotal ASUN Conference matchup at Swanson Stadium.
"What an awesome game," Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. "We battled back from three down and then put up nine zeroes on the scoreboard. Both teams had chances to score and each bullpen kept the other in check. Unfortunatley for us, it was FGCU who finally managed to get a run across."
With the loss, the Bisons (26-20) and Eagles (32-16) are now tied in the league standings at 8-8.
FGCU loaded the bases in the 11th and left fielder Eli Lovell singled down the right field line to bring home the game-winning run.
Lipscomb did not go without its own chances to win the game. In the top of the ninth, the Bisons loaded the bases with only one out on a single from Blake Thomas and back-to-back walks from Michael Gigliotti and Cade Sorrells. Following a FGCU pitching change, the Eagles got Hunter Hanks on strikes and then forced Zeke Dodson to ground out to the pitcher.
The Bisons found themselves in a 3-0 hole in the opening frame when FGCU’s Gage Morey hit a two-out solo homer, only to be followed by a two-run dinger from Lovell two batters later.
In a game where runs were at a premium, that would be all the Eagles could muster off Lipscomb’s Jeffrey Passantino.
After giving up only the second two-homer inning of his career, the junior righty worked into the eighth on 103 pitches. He allowed 10 hits, struck out four and issued just one walk in the no decision.
Lipscomb finally got to FGCU’s Kutter Crawford in the fifth. Tevin Symonette and Jeffrey Crisan drew walks before a fly ball to right field allowed Symonette to advance to third. Gigliotti then ripped a ball that could not be handled cleanly by the FGCU first baseman, allowing the run to score to trim the deficit to 3-1.
In the very next frame, Jake Perry and Lee Solomon delivered back-to-back RBI singles to tie the game at 3-3.
The Bisons got good relief pitching from John Pryor. After Passantino pitched into the eighth where he allowed two singles before being lifted, Pryor entered and worked Lipscomb out of the jam on two strikeouts and an infield fly.
Pryor did take the loss and fell to 3-3 on the year. The senior southpaw tossed 3.1 innings where he only allowed the one run on two hits with five strikeouts and career high five walks.
"This was the type of game that it is fun to be a part of," Forehand said. "We are just looking forward to getting back after it tomorrow."
AROUND THE HORN:
- With the loss, Lipscomb and FGCU are now tied 17-17 in the all-time series.
- Gigliotti and Hanks extended their on-base streaks to 23 games.
- The Bisons were outhit 12-9 in the loss.
- Sorrells, Perry and Thomas led the Bisons with two hits apiece.
- Dodson and Thomas had the only extra-base hits for Lipscomb, both doubles.
- Lipscomb drew seven walks on the night, led by Sorrells’ two.
- Solomon extended his team-high hitting streak to seven games.
- Lipscomb failed to steal a base for the first time in nine games. It had 36 in over the last eight outings.
In anticipation of rain on Sunday, Lipscomb and FGCU will play a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game will get under way at noon and will be followed by a 6 p.m. finale.
Brady Puckett will toss the first games for the Bisons and Denton Norman will get the ball in game number two.