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Bisons will send Johnson to the mound against TTU
Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Lipscomb Bisons will send Ben Johnson to the mound for his second start of the season Tuesday night when Tennessee Tech’s Golden Eagles visit.

Game time is at 6 at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen Lee Marsh Stadium.

The Bisons, 11-17, have lost their last two games. Tennessee Tech, from the Ohio Valley Conference, is 9-16 overall. Tennessee Tech is 1-4 on the road.

Johnson, a left-hander, is 1-0 with a 5.40 earned run average. He has pitched only 10 innings in seven appearances due to an injury problem. It is his first start since Feb. 20 the opening weekend of the season.

He lasted 5.1 innings, giving up three hits and two runs while striking out six, to get a 9-5 win over Bradley.

“Ben has had a little bit of knee trouble at times,” Lipscomb pitching coach Tyler Shrout said. “He has rehabbed that pretty well. He has worked real hard in the weight room and the training room.”

One of the primary reasons that Johnson has been chosen to start is that three of Tennessee Tech’s top hitters are left-handers.

“We need him to give us a good start,” Shrout said. “We are not asking him to give us seven or eight innings.”

Johnson needs to look no farther than right-hander Mike Grace’s performance Sunday afternoon against North Florida. Grace pitched five scoreless innings and allowed one hit. He struck out four and walked three.

“Mike didn’t throw a strike above the knees,” Shrout said.

The bullpen is heavy with left-handers. Right-hander Davey Hackett has been redshirted. Josh Cotham, another right-hander, is out for the next three weeks.

“We have some guys in the bullpen that didn’t get to throw this past weekend,” Shrout said. “That will be motivation for them against Tennessee Tech.”

The Bisons won one of the three games with North Florida this past weekend. Twice they saw leads disappear in the late innings, including Sunday when a 5-1 lead evaporated due to a six-run eighth inning by North Florida.

“In 27 innings we really only pitched one bad inning,” Shrout said. “Friday we had the 4-2 win. Saturday we made six errors and only gave up six runs. I think we pitched our best on Saturday.”

Richie Goodenow leads the Bisons in several offensive categories with a .366 batting average, a .485 slugging percentage and a .420 on base percentage.

Tennessee Tech holds a 33-27 advantage overall in the series.

The Bisons hit the road this weekend for a three-game A-Sun series at ETSU in Johnson City.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.