TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Lipscomb baseball team fell in its series opener against Alabama, 2-1, on Friday night in 13 innings.
The Bisons and Crimson Tide started their weekend series with two dominant pitching performances on the mound. Lipscomb starter, Scott Elgin, and Alabama starter, Connor Prielipp, had it working at Sewell-Thomas Stadium with both pitchers recording double-digit strikeouts.
Elgin ended his night after six innings and 10 strikeouts, which set a new career-high for the Hoover, Alabama native. Elgin’s counterpart, Prielipp, also set a new career-high in strikeouts after tossing six shutout innings and punching-out 11.
“I just feel like Scott is really getting better and better each week,” head coach Jeff Forehand said. “For him to have the opportunity to pitch back in his home state, against the state school, has got to be fun for him. So for him to come out and shine like he did tonight with a solid, solid performance, I can’t say enough about it.”
The only time the Tide bats were able to get to Elgin was in the third inning. Alabama was able to put runners on the corners after a single, a fielding error and a fielder’s choice. Sam Praytor then sent a RBI single through the left side to put the Tide up, 1-0.
It was in the top of the seventh, after Prielipp’s night was done, when the Bisons were finally able to get some offense going. Maddux Houghton was the first man on after he walked and was moved up to third on error in the next at-bat. Chaz Bertolani then attempted a safety-squeeze to score Houghton and the Alabama pitcher made an errant throw to the plate, which allowed Houghton to score evening it up at 1-1.
The pitching duel would continue between the two clubs as both bullpens also gave strong outings and forced the game into extra innings. Lipscomb leaned on the arms of Wyatt Folsom and Tyler Guilfoil, while Alabama counter with Chase Lee and Brock Guffey.
Folsom pitched in the seventh and eighth innings for the Bisons and allowed just two hits to keep the score knotted at 1-1. Guilfoil then took over for innings 9-12 and gave a solid four innings on the bump, not allowing a run and just giving up two hits to go along with six strikeouts.
Now in the 13th inning, and with Guilfoil out of the game, Alabama took advantage. Lipscomb turned to Gavin Grubbs, but after he gave up a leadoff single and a walk he was pulled. JT Caver was then called upon with runners on first and second and no outs. Caver’s first batter reached by placing a bunt perfectly down the third base line, which loaded the bases for the Tide. Alabama would then win it off a wild pitch on the next at-bat.
“Today’s game is about how well we pitched,” Forehand said. “The game wasn’t lost on the last play. Alabama did a good job getting the leadoff guy on and then a walk and a perfect bunt puts us in a difficult spot. We had some opportunities throughout the game. They’re a good team and we matched them pitch-for-pitch, so if we can keep doing that we’ll be in good shape.
“I think everything as we progress through the season is a learning experience and we learned tonight. It’s no fun to learn when you get beat, but I think, even with a loss, we grew a little bit.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- This was the longest game, inning-wise, that the Bisons had played since April 24, 2016 when the Bisons defeated Kennesaw State, 11-9, in 13 innings.
- Guilfoil’s four innings on the mound set a season-high for the right-hander.
- Lipscomb just totaled three hits over the course of the game, which was a season-low.
- Between the two teams, there were a combined 41 strikeouts. Lipscomb struck out 24 times, while Alabama struck out 17 times.
- Every starter for Lipscomb struck out at least twice during the game.
The Bisons and Crimson Tide will face off in the second game of the series, with first pitch from Sewell-Thomas Stadium scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow.