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Monday, March 13, 2006
March 13, 2006
The Bisons earned their first conference win of the season in Sunday's 8-3 victory against East Tennessee State.
"The one thing we needed was an outstanding pitching performance," head coach Wynn Fletcher said. "And it showed up today."
After two consecutive conference losses, the Bisons needed starter Josh Smith to come up big. Despite the fact that Smith had been the losing pitcher in Friday night's loss against the same ETSU team, he was dominating from the first pitch on Sunday.
"I think facing the Buccaneers on Friday helped me, because it allowed me to see the batter's weaknesses and what I needed to work on to get the hitters out," Smith said. "Friday night gave me confidence that my pitches were good enough. I just had to put it all together, and today I did. Coach called a good game, the defense played well, and we had some timely hits."
Smith did not allow a hit until the third when Blake Church led off the inning with a home run to left field. Two consecutive Bisons' errors put runners on first and second with no outs. Michael Courtney followed with an infield single to load the bases. After Smith got the next batter to fly out, he gave up an RBI sacrifice fly to Stephen Douglas to give the Buccaneers a 2-0 lead.
With two outs, another costly Bisons' error kept the Buccaneers in the inning. Smith issued a bases loaded walk to Chuck Hargis to give the Bucanneers a 3-0 lead, before getting Justin Aughey to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
At first, it looked like the errors would cost the Bisons the win. But the Bisons bats began to come alive in the fourth and Smith shut-out the Buccaneers for the remainder of the game.
"He took it one pitch at a time," Fletcher said. "He made one bad pitch and it left the park."
The Bisons scored their first run of the game in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Patrick O'Rourke.
The Bisons would take the lead in the fifth. With one out, Jeff Baumgartner singled to right field. Whit Reed followed with a double to right putting runners on second and third. Both runners would score on a triple to left center by Preston Embrey. Embrey crossed the plate for the Bisons third run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Tadd Brewer.
The Bisons scored two more runs in both the sixth and eighth innings to give Lipscomb an 8-3 lead.
Zac Miller, Brewer, and Baumgartner led the team on offense with two hits a piece.
But the story of the day was Smith. In Smith's last appearance on Friday, he gave up the game winning home run to receive the loss and drop his record to 1-2. On Sunday, Smith bounced back with a dominating four-hit performance. In nine innings, he gave up just one earned run while striking out eleven. Smith's ERA now stands at 5.06. Batters are hitting just .221 against him. Smith leads the team in strike-outs with 33.
"Today, he showed signs that he is becoming the pitcher that I thought he could be," Fletcher said.