NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Putting together one of the best all-around performances of 2012 so far, the Lipscomb baseball team finished off a three-game sweep of Atlantic Sun Conference foe ETSU with a 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium in Nashville.
Along with punching out nine hits on the afternoon, Bison (13-16, 6-3 A-Sun) pitchers Josh Cotham and Tyler Burstrom kept the ETSU (14-12, 3-6 A-Sun) hitters off balance all afternoon allowing just the one run and four hits. Cotham was particularly effective against the Buccaneers with a six-inning, one-hit outing. The senior also struck out five and walked three to improve to 2-2 on the season.
Burstrom came on for Cotham to start the seventh and notched his second save of the season allowing a solo home run and two other ETSU hits in three innings of work.
“We got an early lead which helped and Cotham settled in pretty good for six strong innings,” said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. “I’m proud of Burstrom for coming in there after pitching on Friday and being able to come today and give us strong innings. That was a great performance.”
The Lipscomb bats got cranking in the third inning as junior designated hitter Ricky Coleman opened the frame with a leadoff double before coming home on a single by senior left fielder M.L. Williams to make it a 1-0 contest. Williams then put Lipscomb ahead by two on the next play as senior second baseman Zak Messer, the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, delivered a single through the left side that plated Williams from second.
Cotham and ETSU’s Jake Long both settled into a groove at that point and neither team would cross the dish until the eighth inning when the Bison pushed across three runs with two outs against Buc reliever Kerry Doane. Back-to-back singles by Williams and Messer got things started and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position.
With the table set, junior centerfielder Zach Lowery did exactly what he did in Saturday’s win against ETSU and ripped a double to the gap to spark the Bison as Williams and Messer both scored easily. A passed ball moved Lowery up 90 feet and then junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval drove in Lipscomb’s final run with a single to left giving the Bison another insurance tally.
The Bucs would get their lone run in the ninth with two gone when Dylan Pratt launched ball to left center against Burstrom.
“Getting the sweep is huge,” said Forehand. “Everybody in the league is good. When you’re at home, you’ve got to be able to defend your home field and I think we’ve done a great job of that the last two weeks. It’s hard to sweep and I’m grateful we were able to do it.”
The Bison continue home A-Sun action this week beginning on Thursday as Kennesaw State comes to town for a three-game series at Dugan Field. Thursday and Friday night’s games begin at 6 p.m. followed by a 1 p.m. start on Saturday.