LakePoint, Ga. - With opening day around the corner for ASUN Conference Baseball teams, our next season preview takes us to Nashville, Tenn. and the Lipscomb Bisons. The team from the Music City was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Coaches Poll after finishing in that spot last season. The Bisons hope to surprise some people this season and make a move up the standings.
Lipscomb finished with a 28-28 record, giving the Bisons a .500 record or better in four consecutive seasons. Lipscomb's offense produced 327 total runs (fifth in the ASUN), while 127 of those came in ASUN play, which ranked second in the league. As a team, the Bisons finished second in the ASUN in on-base percentage at .373, while sitting fourth with a .383 slugging percentage. Zeke Dodson, who finished with a team-leading .309 batting average, returns after earning Second Team All-Conference honors last year. Jake Perry will look to provide some power in the middle of the order after slugging seven homers last season. Lee Solomon looks to display his speed once again after swiping 23 bags in 2017.
On the mound, Lipscomb lost its top-three hurlers from a year ago to graduation and the MLB Draft. Kyle Kemp had the team's highest K/9 ratio at 10.27 last season, while Dayton Tripp returns after making 12 starts and pitching 61.0 innings. The Bisons will look to break in some new arms this season, after finishing fifth in the ASUN with a 4.92 ERA in 2017.
Lipscomb will look to get their season rolling with some home cooking in the opening weeks as 15 of the team's first 17 games will be played at Dugan Field. Lipscomb only won two conference series last season, but managed to pick up a win in the ASUN Championship. Head Coach Jeff Forehand and the Bisons will have their sights set on making a run in 2018 and returning back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.
Lipscomb Team Quick Facts
2017 Record: 28-28 (9-12)
Best Single-Season Record in ASUN: 39-20; (13-8) - 2015
ASUN Championships: 2008, 2015
ASUN Regular Season Titles: None
NCAA Appearances: 2 (2008, 2015)
2018 Season Notes: Both of Lipscomb's 2018 ASUN Preseason All-Conference selections, Zeke Dodson and Jake Perry, drove in 37 RBI in 2017. As a team, Lipscomb ranked second in drawing walks with 289 last season.
Season Opener: vs. UNC Asheville; 2/16/18 - 4 PM CT
ASUN Opener: vs. NJIT; 3/29/18 - 6 PM CT
ASUN Road Opener: at Stetson; 4/13/18 - 5:30 PM CT
Head Coach: Jeff Forehand
Career Record (Years): 515-473-1 (18th Year)
Lipscomb Record (Years): 304-331 (12th season)
Staff: James Odgen, Brad Coon, Brian Ryman, Ryan Price
- Jake Perry, Sr., C: The senior catcher made an immediate impact in the Bisons lineup hitting seven homers and driving in 37 runs. The newcomer hit .279, while slugging .464 (12th in the ASUN) last season and earned a spot on the 2018 ASUN Preseason All-Conference team. He played in 50 total games and recorded a 1.000 fielding percentage.
- Lee Solomon, Sr., 2B/OF: Solomon had another solid season in the Bisons lineup in 2017 despite hitting just .243. He finished the year with an on-base percentage of .358 and drew 31 walks for Lipscomb's offense last year. In 56 games played, Solomon swiped 23 bags, which ranked second in the conference. He finished with 12 steals in ASUN play, the most of any league player last season.
- Zeke Dodson, So., 3B: Dodson was voted to the 2018 ASUN Preseason All-Conference team as the top third basemen. He finished last year with a .309 batting average. 18 of his 64 total hits went for extra bases and ranked third in the ASUN with four sacrifice flies. On the defensive end, Dodson finished with 79 assists in the conference play his fielding percentage was .895 at the hot corner.
Top Returning Pitchers
- Dayton Tripp, Sr., RHP: The right hander made 12 starts for the Bisons in 2017 and returns as the most experienced starter on the mound. He finished with 61.0 innings pitched and posted a 5.31 ERA with 30 strikeouts. His best outing of the season came late against Austin Peay, where the junior pitched seven solid innings allowing only one run and five hits. Tripp picked up three victories last year and looks to build on his season this year.
- Adam Stewart, Jr., RHP: Stewart has been a midweek starter for the Bisons and pitched out of the bullpen on the weekend's the past couple of seasons. After logging 36.2 innings last year, Stewart enters 2018 with over 80 innings of experience in a Bisons uniform. The righty has his best game of the season against Alabama A&M where he pitched six innings and struck out six batters in a 9-4 victory.
- Kyle Kemp, R-Jr., RHP: Kemp had a breakout season on the mound for the Bisons as he finished with 43 strikeouts in only 37.2 innings of work. All 17 of his appearances came out of the bullpen and he finished with a team-best 10.27 K/9 ratio. He posted three or more strikeouts in nine of his 17 appearances, including a season-best six in three innings of work against Mississippi Valley.
- Joshua Colon, Jr., RHP: Colon will look to contribute right away after joining the Bisons from Western Oklahoma Communnity College. The right-hander appeared in 22 games last season and posted a 3-2 record. His ERA was outstanding at 3.28, while the produced 53 strikeouts in 49.1 innings of work. His team finished with a 42-12 mark and Colon hopes to compete for a weekend spot in the Bisons rotation this season.