NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One of the ASUN conference's top pitchers entered Dugan Field on Friday and the Lipscomb baseball team welcomed him with bats ready as the Bisons defeated the Stetson Hatters 9-8.
After only scoring one run against Belmont on Tuesday, the Bisons faced Stetson ace Chris Gonzalez (6-1) who entered the evening with the third best earned run average (2.17) in the conference, but Lipscomb obviously didn't check the stats.
"If we can play with the mindset and the consistency that we know we can, we're a solid team", said Lipscomb head coach Jeff Forehand. "We don't have to play out of the roof, we just have to play consistent."
The Bisons almost had the roof cave in on them early. Starter Chris Kachmar (6-3) fell into a quick 3-0 hole after giving up a home run in the top of the first to Baylen Sparks, his first of the season.
The Bisons (22-19, 6-7 ASUN) immediately responded with four runs of their own off Gonzalez in the bottom of the frame with the help of Tevin Symonette's third round-tripper.
Lipscomb's Chris Bashlor also hit his third home run to add to Gonzalez's off-night in the bottom of the third. "We planned for the game to be 3-2, 2-1, right down to the wire and then there's seven runs in the first inning by both teams."
While the power came from the middle of the lineup, it was help from Brian Moore and Haddon Adams at the top and bottom that helped set the stage.
"Brian was our best hitter all fall, but struggled the majority of the season and we're seeing him turn the corner in practice and had a great offensive day today. Haddon just grinds at-bats over and over."
Moore and Adams would combine for five hits on the night and, while Lipscomb continued to put up runs, so did Stetson (18-23, 7-6 ASUN).
They would battle back and take the lead in the sixth before the Bisons responded again with three runs in the bottom half to take the lead and hang on from there.
The Bisons bullpen came in and shut the door in the late innings including an incredible seventh-inning performance by Max Habegger. The Bisons were up 9-7 and, with a runner on second and nobody out, Habegger entered the game and proceeded to strike out three of the first four batters he faced.
Robbie Knox came on and gave up a run in the eighth to make it 9-8 before shutting the door with some defensive help from Chaz Bertolani and Zeke Dodson to pick up his sixth save and give the Bisons, what looked like on paper beforehand, a win that was going to be hard to get.
"You gotta enjoy that one and some of them have exams tomorrow. You gotta take it back down for a minute, you got to get prepared for the exam and take the test and come out here and somehow get it back going again. It's a little bit easier to get it back going after you have a win Friday night and have a chance to come back Saturday."
Lipscomb and Stetson continue the three-game series Saturday at 2PM.
- Four different Bisons had multiple RBI and all four had two each. (Cade Sorrells, Dodson, Bashlor, Symonette)
- The game-winning RBI belonged to Dodson whose sacrifice fly to center scored Maddux Houghton.
- Stetson had beaten Lipscomb in five of the previous seven meetings. The Bisons last victory was on May 25, 2017 in the ASUN tournament. Michael Gigliotti's five RBI helped Lipscomb win 8-6.
- The one-run victory is the fifth of the season for the Bisons.
- Knox's save puts him tied for fourth in the conference. Stetson's Vlad Nunez is also among that group tied with Knox.
- The Bisons will continue their final examinations Saturday morning before playing the second game of the series.
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