On an overcast day with a wet field, gameplay started two hours earlier than originally planned. But just before the rain could interrupt the contest, the Lipscomb Bisons (8-8) pulled out a 4-2 victory to close out a weekend series against the Michigan Wolverines (4-10) with two straight wins. They did so by not allowing any runs after the first inning.
“The story of this weekend was our pitching staff,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “They really just did a great job.”
The Bisons began the weekend with a 16-11 loss on Friday in which senior shortstop Blake Thomas and junior first baseman Cade Sorrells each tacked on three runs for the Bisons. The Bisons pitching staff played three, including starting freshman pitcher Max Habegger (0-1), who threw for just over two innings and allowed five runs.
Lipscomb followed the loss with a 7-4 victory on Saturday. Starting junior pitcher Chris Kachmar (1-0) pitched six innings and allowed four runs, while junior pitcher Robbie Knox finished off the final three innings allowing zero hits and zero runs. Senior catcher Jeffrey Crisan ran in a team-high two scores.
“We didn’t put ourself in a bad spot like we talked about on Friday,” Forehand said of both Saturday and Sunday’s games. “We corrected those things.”
On Sunday, the Wolverines began with two runs in the first inning. The first occurred on an RBI double by senior first baseman Brock Keener; the second on an RBI single by senior third baseman Hector Gutierrez. Junior left fielder Miles Lewis and Keener each were credited with a run.
The Bisons responded in the bottom of the third inning with Michigan senior pitcher Jayce Vancena’s wild pitch, which gave freshman right fielder Carson Wright an opportunity to run home. The Bisons were down 2-1.
Lipscomb added two more in the same inning on a sacrifice fly by junior third baseman Zeke Dodson, followed by an RBI double by Crisan. Both Thomas and Sorrells were credited with runs, and the Bisons were up 3-2.
In the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded and junior second baseman Jackson Furstace on third base, Lipscomb took a 4-2 lead on an RBI single with Dodson at bat.
Things got hairy in the top of the ninth, when what looked to be a potential groundout to end the game bounced off second base and gave Michigan a runner on first and third. The timing could not have been worse.
“Does it frustrate you? Yeah,” Lipscomb junior pitcher Kyle Kemp said. “Can you help it? No. I mean, that’s just a part of baseball. Stuff like that’s been happening all weekend.”
The Wolverines loaded the bases when Kemp dinged at-bat junior second baseman Blake Nelson. But with the count 2-2, Wright caught a fly ball from Michigan junior shortstop Ako Thomas to end the game.
Lipscomb senior bullpen pitcher Nicko Ortega (2-1) snagged the victory, while Vancena (0-3) added another loss. Kemp grabbed his fourth career save. The Bisons’ bullpen allowed zero runs.
“A series win against anybody in college baseball is good,” Forehand said. “And I say that a lot just because I have so much respect for every team.”
The Bisons will play an away game versus the Belmont Bruins for the first installment of the Battle of the Boulevard at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics