NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A big sixth inning was the difference in Jacksonville University baseball falling to Lipscomb at Ken Dugan Field on Saturday afternoon.
JU (20-12, 3-2) lost 12-7 to the Bisons (14-15, 3-2), who came from behind with a six run sixth and held on to force a rubber match tomorrow.
"There were some challenges with feel for the baseball and there were some uncharacteristic outings today," said Head Coach Chris Hayes.
JU made it 4-0 in the second, when John Cassala doubled and Cory Garrastazu singled with one out. Ruben Someillan was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then with two outs, Scott Dubrule lofted one down the left field line that fell in for a base hit, scoring Cassala and Garrastazu. Bisons' third baseman Zeke Dodson dropped the baseball, then threw it away getting it back into the infield, which allowed Someillan to score as well.
Lipscomb got two back in the bottom of the second. A leadoff walk to Jeffrey Crisan and a single by Chris Bashlor set up a Lee Solomon two-RBI double.
Lipscomb led off the bottom of the third with a bunt single by Blake Thomas. He advanced to second on a walk, third on a passed ball and came home to cut the lead to three on a groundout by Crisan.
Bisons got even closer in the fourth. Bashlor led off with a home run to left, and a walk to Maddux Houghton set him up to score on an RBI single by Cade Sorrels that made it 6-5 and ended Tyler Santana's afternoon.
Stephens led off the fifth with a home run, his second in as many days, but that would be it for the scoring for the Dolphins. JU put the first two on again in the sixth, but they were both left in scoring position, the last two that would advance beyond first the rest of the day.
Lipscomb made its move in the sixth. Trent Palmer (1-1) walked the first batter in the inning, and surrendered back to back singles, the latter of which brought the Bisons within one. Thomas tried a sacrifice bunt, but it stayed close enough to the plate that Southern fielded it and tried to go to third to get the lead runner. Armstrong could not handle it and the error tied the game. Two more walks scored another run, and Andrew Ciocia relieved Palmer. A sacrifice fly drove in two, and that would do it, but the damage was done. In all, 12 Bisons came to the plate, and six scored on just four hits, and Lipscomb led 11-7.
"We had opportunities to score in the top of the sixth and they were able to wiggle out of it, then on the flip side the pitchers couldn't come up with a big pitch in a big spot for that one inning," said Hayes.
Lipscomb tacked on one more in the ninth on a bases-loaded walk. JU pitching walked nine batters total.
Tomorrow's game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Spencer Stockton takes the mound for Jacksonville.
"We came up here to win the series," said Hayes. "We feel really good about what Stockton brings to the table, our goal is in sight and we're going to work hard until the final out tomorrow."
Jacksonville is tied for second in the ASUN Conference with Lipscomb and Kennesaw State, behind only Florida Gulf Coast, who is 2-0 to start the league season.