NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb baseball got a strong performance from its pitching staff as the Bisons won their anticipated season opener, 3-2, over UNC Asheville Friday evening at a rain-soaked Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
JUCO transfer Joshua Colon put together an impressive debut in the Purple and Gold. He struck out six batters and allowed two runs in 5.0 innings of work to pick up his first career win.
The Bisons (1-0) drew first blood in the bottom of the second after senior Jake Perry led off the frame with a shot that hit just below the yellow line on the left field wall. After moving to third on a groundout, junior Von Watson dropped a ball inside the right field line for a RBI double.
“Jake’s big double got our offense going, but I think today was about the pitching,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Joshua started us off throwing hard for five good innings. Then the bullpen was just fantastic. They pitched exactly how we scripted it.
“Overall this was a great way to start the season. It was a fun game.”
It was not until the fifth inning that UNC Ashville (0-1) finally touched Colon for its first runs of 2018. With two outs and one man on base, designated hitter Jake Madole blasted a 2-run homer to left field to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 advantage.
Lipscomb wasted no time though in retaliating. Senior shortstop Blake Thomas led off the home half of the fifth with a single to left and then moved to second on a balk. After Zeke Dodson and Perry drew back-to-back walks, Josh Martinez singled to short to drive in Thomas and even the score. Pinch hitter Allan Hooker then drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Dodson for the eventual game-winning run.
Forehand put the rest of the game in the hands of the bullpen and they delivered. Nicko Ortega tossed a perfect sixth and seventh. Robbie Knox entered in the eighth and ran into a little trouble with a leadoff single and a walk, but the freshman retired the next three batters to get out unscathed.
Junior Kyle Kemp fanned two batters in a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save of the season.
Jordan Fullbright took the loss for the Bulldogs after allowing three runs in 4.2 innings of work.
“We had a couple walks early on we couldn’t take more advantage of,” Forehand said. “They (UNC Asheville) pitched it well and played a good game all the way around.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb won its season opener for the third time in the last four seasons.
- The Bison pitching staff combined to strike out 11 batters, compared to just four walks.
- Thomas finished 2-for-2 at the dish with a run scored and a walk.
- The top three in the order (Lee Solomon, Cade Sorrells, and Dodson) combined to go 0-for-10 with two walks.
- Tevin Symonette finished 1-for-4.
- Time of game was 3:02.
As of right now, the Bisons and Bulldogs are back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dugan Field, unless the weather dictates otherwise. Check LipscombSports.com and @BisonBaseball on twitter for any updates on time changes or postponements.
“Hopefully we can get the same kind of performance on the mound tomorrow,” Forehand said. “I’d like to see Chris (Kachmar) get off to a great start. We have some other guys in the pen that will be ready for their shot.”