NASHVILLE – With the 2020 baseball season ending abruptly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lipscomb baseball team saw the makings of special season unfortunately come to a halt as well.
The Bisons played just 16 games of their scheduled 53 on the year and had compiled an overall record of 11-5 at the time of the season’s cancellation. Lipscomb had done its job of protecting home field going 9-2 at Dugan Field, while also fairing decently well on the road with a 2-3 record.
The Purple and Gold started off 2020 in an impressive way by winning their first six contests, which was the program’s best start to a season in its Division I history. The Bisons first three wins came in a series sweep over Bowling Green followed by three more wins over Evansville, Bradley and Missouri State before finally falling to Samford as part of the SAF Dirt Classic.
Senior shortstop Brian Moore was honored as the season’s first ASUN Player of the Week for his efforts during the Bowling Green series. Moore went 5-for-12, for a batting average of .417, and tallied six RBI with one home run, one triple and a double at the plate. On the defensive end, the Alpharetta, Georgia native compiled a perfect fielding percentage with 12 assists and six putouts and made multiple web-gem-worthy plays.
The next weekend series on tap for the Bisons was at home versus Big Ten Conference member and 2019 NCAA Regional participant, the Ohio State Buckeyes. After falling in the first game, Lipscomb took the following two to win the series, including a wild walk-off winner in the second game. Freshman Knox Preston, a Nashville native, delivered the game-winning hit with a single to right center to complete the comeback.
After dropping its first road and midweek game of the year at Middle Tennessee, Lipscomb headed down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on the undefeated and No. 25 ranked Crimson Tide in a weekend series.
The first game featured a fantastic pitching duel between to the two ball clubs, but the Bisons came up short falling 2-1 in a 13-inning contest. Sophomore right-hander Scott Elgin had an impressive outing back in his home state tossing six innings with 10 strikeouts for a career-high. Tyler Guilfoil also had a night on the bump pitching innings 9-12 without allowing a run and just giving up two hits to go along with six strikeouts.
In game two, the Bisons bounced back a defeated Alabama, 3-2, to end the Tide’s 14-game winning streak to start the season. Some timely small-ball hitting and more solid pitching led Lipscomb to hand Alabama its first loss of the year. It was also the first time the Bisons beat a ranked opponent since March 27, 2018 when they took down No. 8 Vanderbilt, 5-1.
In the series finale rubber match between the Bisons and the Crimson Tide, it was the Tide who came out on top winning 14-2.
Lipscomb would unknowingly play its final two games of the year in midweek matchups against in-state rivals Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech. The Bisons were winners in both contests first defeating the Governors 9-7, highlighted by a go-ahead grand slam from Haddon Adams in the bottom of the seventh. Against the Golden Eagles, Lipscomb crushed six home runs en route to a 17-14 victory.
Although the season ended too soon, Lipscomb and many of its players put up impressive numbers and were among the ASUN’s best, including:
- Chaz Bertolani ranked fourth in batting average (.364)
- Adams tied for seventh in batting average (.328)
- Malik Williams ranked fourth in RBI (14)
- Adams tied for fifth in RBI (13)
- Williams tied for second in home runs (4)
- Adams tied for fourth in home runs (3)
- Among starting pitchers, Max Habegger had the seventh-lowest ERA (1.80)
- Guilfoil led the league in saves (6)
- Guilfoil recorded a 0.00 ERA on the season in eight appearances mainly as a closer
- Adams led the league in runs scored (21)
- Adams ranked second in stolen bases (9)
- Maddux Houghton tied for fifth in stolen bases (6)
- Lipscomb ranked third in runs scored (99)
- Lipscomb ranked second in hits (143)
- Lipscomb led the league in home runs (15)
- Lipscomb ranked third in RBI (88)
- Lipscomb ranked second in stolen bases (29)
- Lipscomb’s pitching staff ranked fourth in strikeouts (136)
- Lipscomb’s pitching staff ranked fifth in K/9 ratio (8.36)