NASHVILLE – Missed opportunities proved to be the difference Thursday night in the ASUN Conference opener for the Lipscomb baseball team as the Bisons dropped a 4-3 decision in 11 innings to NJIT at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“We had some opportunities early to push some runs across and we didn’t take advantage, while NJIT did,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “This was a pretty evenly matched game. NJIT just managed to get the big two-out hit we couldn’t.”
The highlight of the night for the Purple and Gold (11-14, 0-1 ASUN) came in the bottom of the third inning when managed to push across a pair of runs to grab a 3-1 lead. Tevin Symonette knocked in his second RBI of the night with a ground ball to short that scored Zeke Dodson, before Josh Martinez ripped a RBI single through the right side to score Jeffrey Crisan.
Lipscomb held on to its lead until the seventh inning when Highlanders (11-8, 1-0 ASUN) leveled the score on a 2-out sacrifice fly to left field after loading the bases on three consecutive singles.
The Bisons didn’t go without their chances as they left 11 men on base. Eight of those 11 runners were stranded in scoring position, including at least one in each of the last five innings.
“We had plenty of chances to get guys in, but sometimes it’s just the way the ball falls,” Forehand said. “I had confidence in our guys and I know they will bounce back tomorrow.”
Lipscomb finished 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
After NJIT cashed in the eventual game-winning run in the top of the 11th on a 2-out single that just snuck under a diving Cade Sorrells’ glove at first, the Bisons found themselves in business in the home half of the frame.
Jackson Furstace drew a free pass to leadoff the inning, then moved to second on a sac bunt and then to third on a ground ball back to the pitcher. Just 90 feet from tying the game, Sorrells grounded out to end the game.
Lipscomb freshman starter Noah Thompson continues to impress. The southpaw lasted 6.0 innings while allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks.
“Noah gave us six solid innings,” Forehand said. “He clearly did enough for us to get the win.”
Thompson struck out a pair of Highlanders on 76 pitches and lowered his season ERA to 1.89.
Junior righty Robbie Knox was tagged with the loss after surrendering one run in 3.0 innings of work. He falls to 1-3 on the season.
AROUN THE HORN
- Jeffrey Crisan led the offense with a 3-for-4 night. He scored a run and drew a walk, while improving his season average to .375.
- Seven different Bisons had hits. Crisan was the only one with multiple knocks.
- Symonette paced the squad with two RBI, while Sorrells led the team with a pair of walks.
- Nicko Ortega saw 2.0 innings in relief. He allowed one run on four hits.
- The Bisons were 3-for-19 with runners on base.
Lipscomb and NJIT get back at it on Friday for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Dugan Field and the game can be seen live on ESPN3.
“We have to play better tomorrow,” Forehand said.