JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lee Solomon continued his hot hitting Saturday as the senior belted two home runs to lead Lipscomb in a 6-5 win over North Florida in ASUN Conference play at Harmon Stadium.
Solomon went 2-for-5 with two RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base. Both home runs were solo shots in back-to-back innings for the senior second baseman.
The Bisons (21-26, 7-10 ASUN) scored three runs in the first inning to take an early lead. Solomon led off the game by reaching on a fielding error before swiping second for his 11th stolen base of the season. Cade Sorrells was hit by a pitch and Jeffrey Crisan worked a 9-pitch walk to load the bases.
Zeke Dodson drove in his third run of the weekend on a deep sac fly to center, putting Lipscomb up 1-0. Two batters later freshman Maddux Houghton deposited a RBI single into right center to score Sorrells, and then Josh Martinez doubled down the line in left to bring home Crisan and make it 3-0 Bisons.
North Florida (23-24, 8-9) clawed its way back into the game with a run in the second and two more in the fourth following a wild pitch and a double from Chris Berry. The Osprey then grabbed their first lead of the afternoon, 4-3, an inning later on a sacrifice fly that scored Tyler Murphy after reaching on a leadoff walk.
The Bisons pulled back even in the top of the seventh on Solomon’s first long ball. The senior golfed a 3-2 pitch over the scoreboard in left center with one out to make it 4-4. Lipscomb had an opportunity to take a lead following the homer when Sorrells was tagged for a second time, Crisan walked and Dodson singled up the middle to load the bases. The threat was neutralized, however, when Jake Perry went down swinging on three pitches and Houghton lined out to center.
Those missed runs would come an inning later for the Bisons. Following two quick strikeouts to open the eighth, Blake Thomas drove a single into right center. The senior speedster made his way to third when UNF threw a ball into foul territory on a failed pickoff attempt. He scored two pitches later on a wild pitch to give Lipscomb a 5-4 advantage. Solomon then tacked on an insurance run with a titanic shot over the fence in left, making it 6-4.
North Florida got a run back in the bottom of the ninth on a RBI single from Berry that scored Abraham Sequera after he reached on a leadoff triple that got past Carson Wright in right field.
Bisons reliever Robbie Knox came back to get the next three Ospreys out and end the game. Knox (3-5) got the win after working the final 2.2 innings. He scattered four hits and allowed one run with one strikeout.
Junior Kyle Kemp made his third consecutive weekend start for the Purple and Gold. He matched his career high with seven strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work. The right-hander allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks.
The victory has Lipscomb one game behind UNF in the ASUN standings. A win on Sunday would give the Bisons a big tiebreaker advantage with three games to play before the conference tournament in two weeks. Lipscomb is currently tied for fifth on the table with Florida Gulf Coast, one game ahead of NJIT.
AROUND THE HORN
- Lipscomb now trails UNF 26-16 in the all-time series versus UNF.
- The Bisons outhit UNF 9-8 and stranded 10 base runners. The Ospreys left 13.
- Lipscomb was 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while UNF was 2-for-14.
- Slomon has hits in four of the last five games and he extended his on-base streak to a team-leading 12 games.
- Houghton (2-for-5) and Thomas (2-for-4) joined Solomon with multiple knocks.
- Martinez’s double was his seventh of the season, the third highest total on the team.
- Solomon is now 11-for-14 in stolen base attempts this year. Thomas leads the team at a perfect 17-for-17.
- Kemp’s 97 pitches were a season high.
- Adam Stewart, Alex Dorso and Nicko Ortega also made relief appearances for Lipscomb.
- The staff combined to strike out 10 batters and walk eight. UNF struck out 10 and walked four.
The Bisons and Ospreys will get together on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. for the rubber game. Freshman Noah Thompson (3-3, 3.23 ERA) will toe the rubber for Lipscomb for his first start since April 21 at Kennesaw State.