NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After pitching its way to victory in the first two games of the weekend against UNC Asheville, the Lipscomb baseball team was unable to overcome a four-run deficit Sunday afternoon as the visiting Bulldogs walked off Ken Dugan Field with a 6-3 decision over the Bisons.
“We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities like the last two days, and they (UNCA) did,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “That’s how baseball is played sometimes and we just have to get better from it.
“I thought we battled, but we weren’t able to bring guys in at key situations. We didn’t get as many advantages today.”
Just like it did on Saturday, UNC Asheville (1-2) grabbed a first-inning lead when second baseman Joe Gruszka launched a solo home run to right field on the third pitch of the game.
The Bulldogs doubled their lead in the top of the third. With Kole Harris standing at second, Gruszka hit a fly ball to right field where Maddux Houghton settled under to make the catch. However, Harris tagged up and when sliding into the bag at third, Houghton’s throw in ricocheted off his body and into the Bisons dugout, awarding Harris home plate to make it 2-0 UNCA.
Following two more runs in the top of the fifth by UNCA, the Bisons bats finally came alive. Joshua Martinez doubled to left center to get things started, followed by a single from Tevin Symonette. Chris Bashlor then recorded his first career RBI with a single to left, allowing Martinez to score. Two batters later, Houghton popped a ball into right field. The second baseman made the catch and made a heads up throw to gun down Symonette trying to score from third.
The Bisons (2-1) cut the Bulldogs lead to 4-3 in the seventh on a 2-RBI double from senior Lee Solomon. Bashlor and Blake Thomas scored on the play after reaching on a hit by pitch and a walk. That would be all the scoring Lipscomb would do before UNCA tacked on its final two runs in the eighth.
Freshman Noah Thompson (0-1) took the loss on his first career start after tossing 3.1 innings with one earned run allowed, three strikeouts and three walks. The bullpen was busy with seven different players making relief appearances. They combined to pitch the final 5.2 frames with three earned runs, seven punch outs and five walks on five hits.
Jordan Carr (1-0) picked up the win for UNC Asheville. He was lifted after 5.1 innings where he only surrendered a lone run on five hits. He did strikeout six Bisons in 19 batters faced.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Cade Sorrells recorded his first hit of the weekend with a double to left center in the bottom of the sixth. He finished the series 1-for-10.
- Martinez was the only Bison with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Lipscomb left seven men on base, compared to 11 for UNCA.
- Along with Thompson, Palmer Steventon and Max Habegger made their Bison debuts on the hill. Steventon went 0.1 innings with a strikeout, while Habegger faced two batters with a walk.
- Adam Stewart, Alex Dorso and Ryan Stevens all made their season debuts.
- Jackson Furstace saw his first action in the field, getting the start at short. He was 0-for-2.
Lipscomb travels to Knoxville on Tuesday to take on the University of Tennessee at 2:30 p.m.
“I am looking forward to what’s next for our offense, we are going to be fine,” Forehand said. “We have to execute our situational hitting better, but tip your hat to UNC Asheville. Their arms are very good. We learned a lot and this was a productive weekend all the way around.”