JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After looking like the Lipscomb baseball team was going to survive and advance in the ASUN Conference Championship, No. 4 North Florida scored four times in the bottom of the eighth inning in front of its home crowd to take down the Bisons 7-6 at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The loss ends the season for Lipscomb.
The story of the game belonged to senior hurler Dayton Tripp. He was handed the ball for his fourth start of the season, the first since March 30, and he came through with a great outing for the Bisons. The Rend Lake product held the Ospreys to just three runs on five hits over 6.0 innings. He matched his season high with five strikeouts and walked two. He was lifted from the contest with the Bisons leading 6-3.
Nicko Ortega came out of the pen to work a clean seventh before running into trouble in the eighth. He loaded the bases on back-to-back singles and a walk, forcing pitching coach James Ogden to come out and replace him with lefty Alex Dorso. The junior got a big strikeout before the Ospreys got a sacrifice fly and a RBI single to cut Lipscomb’s lead to 6-5. Junior reliever Robbie Knox then came in and UNF ripped the go-ahead single through the left side on a 2-0 pitch that brought home two runs to make it 7-6 Ospreys.
At the plate, Lipscomb (24-30) struck first in the top of the third with a bases-loaded walk from Jake Perry that allowed Blake Thomas to trot across the dish. The Purple and Gold added to their lead an inning later when Josh Martinez came home on a wild pitch, making it 2-0 Bisons.
Following a 3-run frame on a pair of bloop singles, the Ospreys grabbed their first lead of the day at 3-2. Lipscomb responded in the next half frame following a leadoff double from ASUN All-Freshman Maddux Houghton that hit off the wall in center. Thomas drove Houghton in on his third double of the tournament three batters later to knot the score at three.
The boys in Gold parlayed that momentum into a trio of runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead back at 6-3. Following the second walk of the afternoon from Cade Sorrells, it was to no surprise of anyone in the ball park that senior catcher Jeffrey Crisan came through once again with a monster home run that sailed over the video board in left field. It was his third home run in three games at the Championship. Martinez added the final run of the game four batters later with a RBI single through the left side that scored Zeke Dodson.
AROUND THE HORN:
- Both teams recorded 12 hits in the game. It marked the fourth time in six games that the Bisons had at least 12 hits.
- Lipscomb left 10 men on base, while UNF stranded eight.
- Crisan’s homer was his team-leading ninth of the season. It’s the most by a Bison since Zach Lowery smashed 10 in 2013.
- Crisan closed the season on a tear with homers in four straight games, and in six of the last seven contests.
- Eight different players had hits for the Bisons, including four with two. (Thomas, Crisan, Houghton, Martinez).
- Sorrells finished the season with 40 walks, the most on the squad.
- With the loss, Lipscomb says goodbye to Thomas, Tripp, Ryan Stevens, Allan Hooker, Kyle Kemp, Perry, Ortega, Crisan and beloved manager Greg VanMaaren.