NASHVILLE-A sunny Saturday afternoon in Nashville brought rays of hope for the Lipscomb Bisons as they took the second game of the three-game series against the Stetson Hatters 5-3 at Dugan Field. The middle of the ASUN standings is starting to look congested and the Bisons used a solid pitching performance by Noah Thompson (3-4) in holding off the Hatters and climbing into fourth place in the standings.
Thompson continued his incredible turnaround from the start of the season by not giving up a hit until EJ Doskow’sdouble to start the fifth. “He got off to a little bit of a slow start (to the season) for no reason”, said Lipscomb Head Coach Jeff Forehand. “He and Coach (James) Ogden have been really working on more of the mental side. When you have a solid year last year, everybody is prepared for you. He’s come back around full form and the last three or four starts have been really, really good.”
The Bisons complemented Thompson’s strong performance with another great showing as the Bisons bats played long-ball off of Stetson starter Daniel Paret (3-2).
Haddon Adams continued his hot hitting with a clutch three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth that stood to be the game-winner. Tevin Symonette hit his second homer in as many days on a 3-2 pitch to provide much-needed insurance in the bottom of the sixth.
“I’ve been working in the cages with Coach (Ryan) Price and Coach (Brian) Ryman a lot just watching video and looking at my swing to see what I’ve been doing wrong”, said Symonette. “Coming into this series, we weren’t playing how we wanted to play and it’s great to see us coming out and getting two dubs (wins).
”Every at-bat is how you see the ball. Hitting a homer is just a by-product of having a good at-bat and seeing the ball”, said Forehand. “You have to see it on 3-2, you cut your swing down a little bit, try to hit the ball up the middle and he just caught it out front and hit a homer. I think it all spins into having good at-bats.”
The Hatters (18-24, 7-7 ASUN) threatened late down 5-1 in the seventh scoring two off of Thompson but the Bisonsbullpen stood up to the test again. Robbie Knox entered the game in the eighth without drama but the ninth was different.
After striking out the first two batters, Jacob Koos singled and then advanced to third on a double by Kyle Ball. With the tying run in scoring position, Jorge Arenas flew out to end the game giving Knox his second two-inning save of the series and giving the Bisons their fourth consecutive conference victory.
“When you give it to your best guy, you’re not nervous”, said Forehand. “You feel like he’s gonna do it. There was no apprehension in that at all…solid job by the pitching staff. Consistency is more than two games, more than three, it’s every day and playing at that same level every time and giving yourself a chance to win the game and, if we do it tomorrow, we’ll be in good shape.”
The Bisons (23-19, 7-7 ASUN) go for their fourth seriessweep of the season Sunday afternoon against Stetson with a special noon start.
-The Bisons recognized the 1979 NAIA National Championship team before the game during the ceremonial first pitch. Steve Aul, Steve Bertshi, Mike Cunningham, Kal Kaney, Neal Langdon, Terry Moore, Curtis Putnam and Kevin Stinson were back on campus representing the team that won the championship at Greer Stadium forty years ago.
-Noah Thompson will be sad to see the month of April end. He recorded his third straight victory. Four of his last five starts have lasted six innings or more and he has allowed five hits or less in four consecutive starts dating back to April 6th at FGCU.
-The Bisons infield was busy recording 13 outs. In addition to seven strikeouts by Bisons pitchers, only seven outs were recorded beyond the infield.
-Robbie Knox’s three strikeouts give him six straight appearances where an opponent has made the walk back to the dugout in frustration. He only has three appearances this season where he has not recorded a punch-out (February 19th vs. Western Kentucky, March 2nd vs. Xavier and March 30th vs. Kennesaw State)