KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The bullpen was strong once again for Lipscomb baseball, but an early six-run hole was too big to overcome for the Bisons as they dropped an 8-5 decision to the University of Tennessee on Tuesday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville.
The Volunteers (2-2) forced the Bisons (2-2) to go to the bullpen after touching starter Dayton Tripp for eight runs in just 2.2 innings of work. Tennessee held an 8-2 lead when Tripp was lifted.
From there the bullpen was outstanding for the Bisons. Five relief arms combined to throw 5.1 shutout frames. The unit only allowed six base runners the rest of the way after 10 touched a base against Tripp.
With Lipscomb (2-2) trailing 2-0 in the second stanza, sophomore center fielder Josh Martinez put the Bisons offense in motion when he launched a solo homer to left field, cutting the deficit in half. The Purple and Gold pulled even at 2-2 an inning later when Zeke Dodson beat out a potential double-play ball to allow Allan Hooker to score from third.
Things went sideways for Tripp and the Bisons in the bottom of the third. After retiring the first two batters, Tripp allowed the next six Vols to reach base. UT third baseman Wyatt Stapp jumpstarted the scoring with a 2-RBI single to right field. Two hitters later, it was center fielder Zach Daniels who put the game out of reach with a grand slam to left field, giving the Vols their largest lead of the night.
In the top of the fourth, Martinez continued his hot start at the dish with a leadoff triple to left center. Tevin Symonette knocked him in two pitches later with his first double of the season.
An inning later, it was Zeke Dodson’s turn, but he was thinking something a bit further. The junior third baseman roped a line drive over the fence in left for a solo shot to trim the Bisons deficit to 8-4. Dodson then drove home Cade Sorrells in the top of the seventh on a two-bagger to right field. His third RBI of the game would represent the final for either team.
Lipscomb’s bullpen continues to be a strength for the Bisons early on in the season. The staff has combined for a 1.42 ERA after allowing just three earned runs in 19.0 innings this season.
Adam Stewart struck out two in 2.0 frames Tuesday as the first man out. Ryan Stevens punched out the only batter he faced, Alex Dorso surrendered a hit and a walk in 1.1 frames, Erik Gutierrez came on in the seventh to induce a popout, record a strikeout and pick a runner off at first, while freshman Max Habegger tossed a perfect eighth.
Tripp took the loss after allowing four hits, five walks, hitting a batter and striking out three.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb falls to 1-10 all-time against the Vols.
- Martinez’s 4th-inning triple was the first of his career, while the home run was his second. His .385 batting average is tops on the team.
- Dodson now leads the team with two home runs and four RBI. He is second with a .357 batting clip.
- Hooker drew a team high two walks in the loss. The Bisons had only three as a team.
- Lipscomb left five runners on base, while Tennessee left eight.
- The Bisons only got the leadoff man on base twice on Tuesday. The Vols did so four times.
- Symonette, Dodson and Martinez each had two hits. Chris Bashlor had the only other base knock for the Bisons.
Lipscomb returns to Dugan Field for the First Annual Southern Athletic Fields (SAF) Dirt Classic. The Bisons will host a trio of teams to the Music City alongside Belmont and Middle Tennessee.
The Bisons will host Indiana State at 4 p.m. on Friday and Kent State at 2 p.m. on Saturday before wrapping up the weekend at 1 p.m. Sunday against Fairleigh Dickinson.