NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The time of the game was moved up six hours, Lipscomb hit a first inning home run to take the lead and Jacksonville University baseball did not manage a hit for the first five innings.
JU (20-11, 3-1) still figured out a way to win, drawing 12 free passes from Bisons (13-15, 2-2) pitchers and riding another strong outing from Chris Gau (5-2) to win 5-2 at Ken Dugan Field Friday afternoon.
"We knew it would be a tough day to hit with the weather the way it is and the early start," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We really maximized the hits that we got and Gau had a really good outing."
Impending weather forced the time of the game up from 7 p.m. to noon, and was played under gray skies and temperatures in the mid-50s. Lipscomb drew first blood, when Zeke Dodson cranked a solo homer in the first. That was one of only four hits and two runs Gau surrendered all day, working eight innings and striking out four while walking none to earn his fifth win on his sixth consecutive outing of seven or more innings.
"I pitched away, managed to establish the outside pitch, got them off-balance a little bit so that I was able to work inside later in the game," said Gau.
"I made sure I got the leadoff man out, because the rest becomes a lot easier after that."
"That's what he is here for," said Hayes. "He is here to set the tone on Friday and he did a great job of that today."
The day at the plate was an odd one for the Dolphins. JU hitters drew six walks off of Bisons' starter Joshua Colon, who also hit three in 4.2 innings, but JU could not manage a hit. The game was tied up in the second, however, when Duncan Hunter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, but a double play left the game tied at one.
JU finally chased the wildly effective Colon in the fifth, after Chris Lehane and Scott Dubrule walked with one out. A wild pitch moved them both into scoring position with two-outs, and the Bisons went to the pen. Alex Dorso walked the first two men he faced, the latter driving in another run to put JU up 2-1.
The sixth inning started with a new pitcher, and Jacksonville's first hit. Connor Stephens hit a moon shot to right, his second of the year, to make it 3-1. Angel Camacho then did the same, hitting his out to left, to greet another Bison reliever in the seventh.
Gau sat down 10 straight Bisons at one point, until Tevin Symmonette doubled to start the seventh. He stole third and came home on a groundout to second, and Lipscomb cut it to two, 4-2.
Gau allowed a leadoff baserunner again in the eighth, a single to center by Carson Wright. After a popout to right, Cade Sorrells drove one to deep center. Ruben Someillan tracked it down, and Lehane's relay beat Wright back to first for a double play to end the inning, one of several stellar defensive plays by JU's outfield on the day.
Jacksonville is a half game up of Kennesaw State for first place in the ASUN Conference, and try for a sixth consecutive series win tomorrow at 2 p.m. Tyler Santana takes the mound, and the game can be seen on Facebook Live and heard on mixlr.com/judolphins.