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Jacksonville (17-35, 6-17 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (24-26, 13-10 A-Sun)
5/12/2012 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 0
Jacksonville (17-36, 6-18 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (25-26, 14-10 A-Sun)
5/12/2012 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 333
Saturday, May 12, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Weathering a persistent downpour and a ninth-inning rally, the Lipscomb baseball team swept a Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader from Jacksonville taking game one 6-1 before earning the series sweep with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap on “Ken Dugan Day” at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
Racing to beat the projected inch or more of rain forecast for the area over the next 24 hours, the Bisons (25-26, 14-10 A-Sun) made quick work of the Dolphins (17-36, 6-18 A-Sun) in just over two hours of play. Much of the credit for the fast pace goes to junior righty Josh Cotham, the reigning A-Sun Pitcher of the Week, who threw his second-straight complete game for Lipscomb.
“The conditions were bad on both sides but our guys stuck to it and Cotham pitched a great game and gave us every opportunity to win,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “Even when the rain is coming down like that, as well as he pitched, that’s just a great outing.”
The veteran carried a shutout into the ninth inning breaking a school record with 20 and two-thirds innings pitched without giving up a run breaking the mark held by former Bison David Patton, who went 19 and one-thirds innings without allowing a run.
“Josh has spoiled us lately,” said Forehand. “We can’t go into every weekend expecting to get that kind of performance. He’s been pitching through some tough stuff and has given us a good chance to win every weekend.”
With the field seeing over 80 minutes of steady rain and beginning to erode, Cotham allowed a pair of runs in the ninth for the Dolphins as conditions deteriorated rapidly. On the night, Cotham scattered eight hits and fanned nine JU batters without issuing a single walk to improve to 5-4 on the season.
Neither side could muster a run until the sixth inning when senior second baseman Zak Messer ripped his 11th blast of the year over the left field fence to give Lipscomb a 1-0 advantage.
Junior third baseman Gray Hutchinson got things rolling for Lipscomb in the seventh with a leadoff double to right center before advancing to third on a wild pitch. That would prove critical as Hutchinson would score two batters later when junior right fielder Lee Wilson lofted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead.
Leading 2-0, the Bisons kept the pressure up and put the game out of reach with a four-run eighth highlighted by a three run bomb by Hutchinson with two outs in the inning. The homer capped off a big weekend for Hutchinson that saw the junior go 6-for-9 at the plate with three doubles, one home run and six runs scored.
“Gray had a big weekend,” said Forehand. “He had some big at bats driving in some runs. I can’t say enough about him. We’ve been waiting on him to get going.”
Game one on Saturday saw the Dolphins jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to the big stick of Adam Brett Walker II, who launched an opposite field solo home run into Lake Lipscomb. From that point on, Lipscomb junior southpaw Chris Nunn kept the Jacksonville offense off balance to pick up his first win of the season tossing five and two-thirds innings. Nunn scattered seven Dolphins hits, walked only one batter and fanned one Jacksonville hitter.
Junior righty Tyler Burstrom earned his third save of the season throwing the final three and one-thirds innings. Burstrom was near perfect allowing only one hit and notching one strikeout.
The Bisons got the offense going in the fifth inning with a three-run rally with two outs to chase JU starter Drew Woods from the game. Hutchinson got the frame started with a single to right before moving up to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Logan Hostettler.
A Wilson groundout moved Hutchinson 90 feet from home before senior designated hitter Shawn Mehring drew a walk to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch thrown to the backstop tied the game at one as Hutchinson scooted across the dish and Mehring moved into scoring position. A double to right by senior left fielder M.L. Williams kept the rally going and brought Mehring home to give the Bisons their first lead of the afternoon.
Messer then brought Williams home with a single to right ending Woods’ day and giving the Bisons a 3-1 lead.
Back-to-back singles by Mehring and Williams got things rolling again in the seventh and again the Bisons came through with two away as freshman first baseman Griffin Moore laced a double down the left field line that made it a 5-1 contest.
Mehring, who was honored as the Ken Dugan Award recipient in a pregame ceremony, made it a 6-1 game in the eighth as he drove home Hutchinson, who led off the frame with a walk before advancing on a pair of wild pitches.
The Bisons wrap up the 2012 home regular season on Tuesday night hosting Tennessee Tech at 6 p.m. at Dugan Field before the final A-Sun series of the year beginning on Thursday night at Belmont.
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