NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team ran into one of the ASUN’s top pitchers on Friday afternoon, dropping a 5-2 contest to Jacksonville at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
Jacksonville starter Chris Gau went eight stellar innings, allowing just four hits and a pair of runs. He eventually gave way to closer Chris Mauloni, who sealed the victory by tossing a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 12th save of the season.
"We got out of the gate great today, but you have to give Gau credit," Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand said. "He is a veteran and did a good job of keeping us off the bases and getting out of trouble. We just have to be able to execute better as a team in those situations when we have the chances."
Zeke Dodson gave the Bisons a 1-0 lead when he sent a solo shot over the left field wall in the bottom of the first. Lipscomb’s only other run came in the seventh via an RBI groundout from Maddux Houghton.
Jacksonville scattered its five runs over five different innings. The Dolphins’ offense was highlighted by solo bombs from Angel Camacho and Connor Stephens.
Lipscomb hurler Joshua Colon struggled to find the strike zone in the early going, but he eventually settled down to produce a respectable outing. The junior right went 4.2 innings and allowed two runs, before giving way to reliever Alex Dorso.
"It was good to see Josh get back out there today," Forehand said. "He did a fine job, only gave up two runs in almost five innings, but we had to get him out of there with his pitch count getting up.
"Overall we have to correct the walks as a staff. We were able to get out of a lot of jams today and it gives us some confidence, but we can't afford to continue to give up free bases like we did today."
Senior Nicko Ortega pitched the final three frames and allowed a pair of runs on three hits, and Lipscomb’s bats did not have an answer in the final two innings.
Around the Horn:
- Dodson’s bomb was his fourth of the season, which leads the team. He also leads the team with a .352 average.
- Both teams finished the afternoon with just four base knocks apiece. The Bisons are hitting .250 as a team through the first 28 games of the year.
- Lipscomb is now 18-28 all-time against the Dolphins, who won all four meetings last season.
- Despite not allowing a hit, Colon issued nine freebies, including six walks and three hit-by-pitches.
- Junior Erik Gutierrez made a relief appearance in the sixth inning and gave up a run.
- Gau improved his season record to 5-2 with the victory.
- Time of the game was three hours and five minutes with 167 fans in attendance.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday for Game 2 of the series. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Dugan Field. Junior RHP Chris Kachmar (2-1, 3.32 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Bisons.
"I expect us to bounce back like always," Forehand said. "This was a tough one, but we get a chance to get a good start out of Kachmar and even this series back up on Saturday."