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Wednesday, May 16, 2007
May 16, 2007
By Nate Rau, Sports Correspondent
Lipscomb baseball coach Jeff Forehand can't complain about the situation his Bisons are in as they head to Jacksonville for the final Atlantic Sun games of their regular season.
In search of the program's first-ever berth into the A-Sun tournament, the Bisons control their own destiny.
Lipscomb travels to Jacksonville for a three-game set beginning Thursday against the Dolphins with a trip to the tournament hanging in the balance.
Currently Lipscomb (27-26, 11-13) sits tied for the fifth seed with East Tennessee State (26-26, 11-13). The top six teams earn bids to the A-Sun tournament. However, lingering just a game behind the Bisons and owning the tiebreaker is seventh-place Gardner-Webb (23-29, 10-14).
"We set our goals high at the beginning of the year. Our first goal was to win the Atlantic Sun," said Forehand, who is in his first year at Lipscomb after coming over from Trevecca Nazarene. "The next goal you set is to be in the conference tournament. One of our goals all year was to be in control of our own entrance and we are in that position."
Lipscomb controls its own destiny thanks to a 4-1 victory on Sunday over regular season champion Stetson (38-14, 20-4). That win snapped a dismal span in which the Bisons had lost six in a row and 10 of their previous 11.
"It has a lot to do with our league," Forehand said of the losing streak. "We're not making any excuses... [I]f you don't play well you have a chance to lose three times on any given weekend."
Making the A-Sun tournament would be a positive step forward for a program that has really struggled since the school made the leap to NCAA Division I. Whether or not Lipscomb is able to play its way into the tournament, Forehand has definitely breathed life into the program during his first season.
Already the Bisons have won two of three at national power LSU, upset No. 1 Vanderbilt and increased their winning percentage in the A-Sun from .367 during a last-place finish in 2006 to .458 this year.
"We haven't played great [lately], but you can't win the tournament if you don't make it in," Forehand said. "To be in the control of our own entrance is a position we love to be in."
Unfortunately for the Bisons, JU (28-24, 13-11) is a formidable opponent. The Dolphins tore through the league last year and earned an at-large bid to an NCAA regional. After being picked to win the league this year, JU is in fourth-place and vying for a better seed in the A-Sun tournament.
The A-Sun tournament will start May 23 at Stetson.
"[Jacksonville is] just like any other team in our conference," Forehand said. "They're very good. Certainly, it's going to be a challenge to play at their place. But we feel like we can match up well against them and we're going to see what we can do."
Original Source: The Nashville City Paper