No scoreboard, no music, and no P.A. system: that’s how the Lipscomb baseball team played its game against Western Kentucky thanks to the power being out on campus Tuesday.
However, the atmosphere of the game didn’t stop Lipscomb freshman starting pitcher Tyler Guilfoil from tossing a scoreless outing in the first game of his career, putting the Bisons in position for a 3-1 win at Ken Dugan Field.
Guilfoil limited the Hilltoppers to only one hit and one walk to go with nine strikeouts in five innings pitched.
“For [his] first time out there, you can’t [ask for] any more than that,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said.
The atmosphere was reminiscent of a little league game or a game being played in the early days of baseball before electricity.
The only sounds were the bats hitting the ball, the ball hitting the gloves and the cheers of the crowd. The only people who really knew the score the entire game were the players on the field and the people in the press box, since the scoreboard was among the things not working due to the power outage.
“I think we get spoiled having the music and the scoreboard and all the amenities going on sometimes,” Coach Forehand said. “It affected the game, but not enough to where we couldn’t play the game.”
The game was also cold, and the temperature stayed in the upper 30s and low 40s.
Both starting pitchers were making their collegiate debuts. Guilfoil started his Lipscomb career on the right note by retiring the first seven hitters he faced.
WKU’s freshman starter Hunter Crosby did not fare as well. The game started with an error by WKU second baseman Ray Zuberer, allowing Haddon Adams to get on base. Fowling the error, a hit by pitch, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly by Lipscomb DH David Graves gave the Bisons a 1-0 lead.
The bottom of the second inning started exactly like the bottom of the first did, as Zuberer made his second error of the day. That allowed Lipscomb LF Von Watson to get on base. Thanks to a wild pitch by Crosby, Watson was able to advance to second. Then a single and a fielder’s choice led to Watson scoring the second run of the day.
Crosby’s pitching debut didn’t last much longer after allowing the Bisons to score their second run. Two singles and a walk to start to off the top of the third inning force the Hilltoppers to go to the bullpen.
Western Kentucky brought in Eric Crawford with the bases loaded and no outs. Crawford was able to get Bisons 1B Cade Sorrells to ground into a double play. Another ground out kept the score at 2-0.
In the top of the third inning, Guilfoil found himself in the first bases-loaded jam of his career. But Guilfoil was able to regain his composure to strikeout the next batter to get the second out. Then a flyout to Watson retired the side to get Guilfoil out of the jam and keep Western Kentucky scoreless.
Guilfoil continued to keep Western Kentucky scoreless through 5 innings. However, cold weather, his pitch count, and the Hilltoppers top of the order coming up in the top of the sixth inning forced him out of the game.
“He was going good,” Coach Forehand said. “In a not so cold later in the season game he would have went back out there.”
The Bisons brought in Alex Dorso from the bullpen to start the sixth inning. Dorso was able to keep the Hilltoppers scoreless for two more innings.
To start the eighth inning, another Lipscomb reliever pitcher, Matthew Maldonado was brought in to relieve Dorso. Maldonado retired the first two batters he faced, but a two out double and a single gave the Hilltoppers their first run of the game.
Lipscomb RF Carson Wright was able to get a single with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. A stolen base by Wright and a wild pitch by the Hilltoppers allowed Wright to advance to third. With two outs, Western Kentucky’s catcher allowed a passed ball and Wright scored to make it 3-1.
In the top of the ninth, Forehand decided to call on relief pitcher Robbie Knox to try to get the save. Western Kentucky’s first two batters both grounded out.
However, a two-out rally from the Hilltoppers loaded the bases. With a 3-2 pitch count and the tying run on second, Knox to get Zuberer to ground out. That gave the Bisons a 3-1 victory.
Lipscomb will take on Toldeo at Ken Dugan Field on Thursday at 4 p.m.
“We got to have another outing like Tyler gave us today and we have to execute our short game like we did today,” Forehand said.
Key stat lines:
SP Tyler Guilfoil 5 IP, 9 K, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 ER (W)
RP Robbie Knox 1 IP, 1 H (S)
3B Zeke Dodson 2-3, 1 RBI
SS Brian Moore 2-3
CF Maddux Houghton 1-4, 1 RBI
SP Hunter Crosby 2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 R, 0 ER (L)
Photo by Russell Vannozzi