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Brothers strikes out career-high 13 in 3-0 shutout against USC Upstate
Antonio Butler
Antonio Butler

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The weather was miserable but Lipscomb Bisons pitcher Rex Brothers was superb.

Brothers, 3-1, pitched a complete game 3-0 shutout against USC-Upstate in an Atlantic Sun game Saturday afternoon at wet and gray Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.

Originally scheduled to be a doubleheader, the second game was postponed until Sunday. The two teams will meet at noon in an attempt to complete the three-game series that has been hampered by cold and wet conditions since Friday.

Brothers, a junior left-hander, struck out a career-high 13 batters. He struck out 12 at Mercer March6 in a 10-8 win. He had previously struck out 11 at Mercer April 7, 2007. He only gave up four hits.

“Rex was really on,” said Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand. “He was consistent. He was getting both his fastball and slider into the strike zone.”

Every time Brothers pitches there are a number of professional scouts watching his every move and recording the speed of every pitch.

“Rex is a good pitcher even when he is not in the strike zone consistently like he was in this game,” said Forehand. “But when he is challenging you with a 90-plus miles per hour fastball and his breaking ball it’s hard to get good contact against him.”

It was the second shutout of the season for the Bisons, but the first complete game shutout.

Offensively, the Bisons only had five hits against USC Upstate starter Matt Branham and reliever Tim Fournier.

Two of those hits were home runs, one each from Antonio Butler and Justin Sanders in the sixth inning.

Jay Moreland opened the inning when he reached base on an error by the left fielder. Butler brought him home with his first collegiate home run. With two outs Sanders hit a solo shot, his second of the season.

It was Butler’s fourth multiple RBI game. He leads the team in that category.

“Antonio is young and he is learning,” said Forehand. “We have to give him some more opportunities to get his confidence level up.

“He has some tools. He can really run.”

Sanders has been the offensive leader for the Bisons since the first game of the season. He is at or near the top in most offensive categories in the conference.

“Justin is a tough out,” said Forehand. “He has been our offensive guy so far. We would like to see what could happen if we got him some more help.”

Ryan Wilkins had one hit, extending his streak to five games. He has the longest current heading streak on the team.

Senior right-hander Brandon McClurg (1-1, 2.81) is scheduled to start the first game Sunday. Junior right-hander Josh Smith (1-0, 4.26) will be on the mound for the second game.

The Bisons are 6-8, 3-1 in the A-Sun. USC Upstate is 5-8, 1-3 in the conference.