NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Saturday’s freezing temperatures didn’t keep the Lipscomb baseball bats from catching fire.
The Bisons exploded for 12 runs on 12 hits, evening the ASUN Conference series against Jacksonville with a 12-7 victory at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. The series will be decided on Sunday at noon in Nashville.
“I thought we looked a little sluggish and slow to begin the game today, but then we started getting guys on base and that allowed us to put together some big innings,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “This was a big win for us. After going down we had guys step up and play major roles. That’s what we want to see.”
The win moved Lipscomb to 14-15 overall and 3-2 in the ASUN, while Jacksonville fell to 20-12 and 3-2.
Temperatures stayed in the upper-30’s for the entirety of the contest, making for less-than-ideal conditions, however, Lipscomb used a 6-spot in the sixth inning to jump ahead of the Dolphins for good.
Trailing 7-5 in the home half of the sixth, Carson Wright got things started with an RBI single. Then a bunt from Blake Thomas brought chaos as Jacksonville catcher Jacob Southern’s throw to third, deflected off the third baseman’s glove and into left field, allowing Lee Solomon to score from second.
Zeke Dodson then drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Wright, before Jeffrey Crisan followed with a rare 2-RBI sac fly to center field. Freshman Maddux Houghton capped the frame with an RBI single that drove in Dodson to give the Purple and Gold an 11-7 lead – their first advantage since leading 1-0 in the first inning on Friday.
Lipscomb starter Chris Kachmar wasn’t at his sharpest, as the junior went just 4.0 innings and surrendered five earned runs with a pair of strikeouts. Kyle Kemp relived Kachmar in the fifth and tossed three innings of one-run ball.
“When I came on in the fifth, I just wanted to get the game under control and allow us to get back in the game,” Kemp said. “I made the wrong pitch and they took advantage, but I thought after that home run that I settled in and the bullpen finished out strong.”
Robbie Knox slammed the door with scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth.
It appeared Jacksonville would clinch the series in the early going as the Dolphins jumped out to 4-0 lead in the second inning, before Solomon answered with a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the frame.
“Coach Forehand always tells us how conference games are back and forth and at some point you are going to be behind and you have to be tough enough to find ways to come back and win,” Solomon said. “So I just went up there thinking about what I needed to do in order to get us back in it. I got a pitch I could drive and we were able to cash in a couple runs to get us going.”
Crisan produced a run with an RBI groundout in the third, before Chris Bashlor launched a solo shot to left in the fourth. Sorrells added a run-scoring single to cut Jacksonville’s lead to 6-5 after four innings.
The Dolphins plated their final run of the day on a solo home run from Connor Stephens in the fifth, before Lipscomb’s decisive outburst in the sixth. The Bisons added an insurance run in the eighth when Solomon drew a free pass with the bases juiced.
“It was good momentum for us to get that big inning there in the sixth,” Kemp said. “The tide turned on them (JU) and we were able to take advantage and put them away with six runs. And with our pitching staff on the backend, we knew the game was over.”
Solomon reached base five times in his second start back from an injury. The senior last accomplished that feat on March 31, 2017, when he went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI against USC Upstate.
“It feels great to be back out there and trying to help this team win,” Solomon. “It’s been tough on the sidelines, but I’ve just tried to support the guys and deal with the hand I was given.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- The Bisons are now 19-28 all-time against Jacksonville. The win snapped Lipscomb’s 5-game losing streak to the Dolphins.
- Lipscomb stranded 10 base runners, while JU left nine.
- Bashlor and Solomon each finished with three hits apiece. Bashlor went 3-for-5 with his second home run of the season and a pair of runs. Solomon recorded a 3-for-3 afternoon with three RBI, a pair of walks and a run.
- Eight of the nine Lipscomb starters finished with at least one base hit and one run, while seven recorded an RBI.
- Thomas finished 1-for-5 to extend his on-base streak to 24 games.
- Tevin Symonette has reached in 16 straight contests after extending his team-best hitting streak to seven games with a 1-for-4 day.
- Lipscomb’s 12 hits were its most since pounding out 12 base knocks in a 13-9 loss to UNC Greensboro on March 17.
- Knox’s relief appearance was his 17thof the season. He lowered his ERA to a team-best 1.36.
- Kemp picked up his first victory of the season and the sixth of his career.
- Time of game was 3:52 with 187 fans in attendance.
Lipscomb and Jacksonville will play the series finale on Sunday. First pitch is set for noon CT at Dugan Field. Lipscomb’s Noah Thompson (3-1, 1.97 ERA) will battle with Jacksonville’s Spencer Stockton (2-4, 4.81 ERA) on the bump.
“We’ve faced their guy a lot over the years, and the coaches do a great job of having a solid game plan, so I think our offense is going to have a good day tomorrow and get us out of the gate early,” Kemp said. “And Noah (Thompson) is going to do what he’s done all year by putting us in a position to win the game. He’s been fantastic, especially for a freshman.”