NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team dropped the second game of its home opening series 8-6 versus Valparaiso Saturday evening at Ken Dugan Field.
The Bisons struggled out of the gate in game two of the three-game series. Sophomore Noah Thompson took the loss on the mound for this matchup and ended his first outing of the season with only 2.1 innings of work, giving up five hits and five earned runs.
“Not a typical start from Noah,” head coach Jeff Forehand said. “Just one of those things where he’ll be better next time for sure.”
The Crusaders were able to get a jump on the Bisons from the first inning behind extra base hits from Riley Dent and Blake Billinger, which put Valparaiso up 2-0. The Purple and Gold would get one back in the bottom half of the inning, however, with Haddon Adams scoring on a fielders choice.
Valparaiso carried their hot start over the next three innings as they were able to put up two runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Dent was the man causing the damage collecting two hits and driving in three runs during that stretch giving Valparaiso an 8-1 lead. Meanwhile, Crusaders starting pitcher John Tieman was shutting down the Bisons offense giving up just one run until the bottom of the fifth inning when Chris Bashlor broke the scoring drought with a 2-RBI single to right field scoring Zeke Dodson and Josh Martinez cutting the Valparaiso lead to 8-3.
The middle innings turned into a pitching duel between the two ball clubs with neither team scoring any runs from the sixth through the eighth. Freshman JT Caver made his collegiate debut out of the bullpen in the top of the sixth throwing three shutout innings with four strikeouts.
After Valparaiso was sent down in the top of the ninth inning on four pitches from Tyler Sills, it was Lipscomb’s turn to make a rally.
With two outs the Bisons were able to get some men on base with back-to-back walks from Dodson and Bashlor. Junior David Graves then delivered by sending a ball into the right field corner scoring Dodson and making it an 8-4 game.
Lipscomb continued to show discipline at the plate with another set of back-to-back walks from Tevin Symonette and Jackson Furstace. Furstace’s walk would give the Bisons another run to make it an 8-5 ball game as the bases were loaded. With Maddux Houghton now at the plate the Bisons just needed an extra base hit to tie the game.
A wild pitch would draw the Bisons within two runs and place runners in scoring position at second and third base. Houghton couldn’t come through, however, and would end up striking out causing the Bisons rally to fall short.
“Bottom line is they played better than we did today and we got to capitalize when we get our opportunities,” Forehand said. “We did what we needed to do. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us, but tomorrow we’ll be back and ready to go.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- Lipscomb now moves to 1-1 on the season
- Dent finished the day 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI as the leadoff hitter for Valparaiso
- Graves went 2-for-5 at the plate with a double and one RBI
- Houghton and Symonette each stole a base
- The pitching combination of Caver, Sills and Adam Stewart gave up zero runs and no hits over five innings of work.
The Bisons and Crusaders will take the field for the third and final game of the series Sunday Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. at Dugan Field. The projected starting pitchers will be Scott Elgin (0-0) for Lipscomb and Colin Fields (0-0) for Valparaiso.
Be sure to check LipscombSports.com and @BisonBaseball on twitter for any updates on time changes or postponements.