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Bisons-Georgia Tech Game Notes

Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 31, 2008

LIPSCOMB BISONS, No. 4 Seed (33-28) vs. GEORGIA TECH, No. 2 Seed (40-19)

NCAA ATHENS REGIONAL TOURNAMENT

FOLEY FIELD

ATHENS, GA.

MAY 31, 2008

THE ATHENS REGIONAL: This is the first time the Bisons have faced Georgia Tech in a baseball game. The Bisons have not faced an Atlantic Coast Conference team in the past two years under coach Jeff Forehand.

Atlantic Sun teams were 0-6 this season against Georgia Tech.

The Bisons beat No.1 seed Georgia 10-7 Friday afternoon to advance in the winner's bracket. They hit three home runs, tying a season high for the fifth time this season. Starting pitcher Rex Brothers took the win and reliever Kyle Tognazzini earned the save.

ON-THE-AIR: Game time is 6 p.m. CDT. The games will be televised by CSS.

THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: This is the first time the Bisons have ever appeared in an NCAA Regional in baseball.

The Bisons are one of four teams making their first NCAA Tournament appearance. The others are Dallas Baptist, an independent; Mount St. Mary's from the Northwest Conference; and UC-Davis from the Big West Conference.

As an NAIA school the baseball program routinely played in the postseason winning the NAIA National Championship in 1977 and 1979.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS: The Lipscomb athletic programs first became eligible for NCAA postseason play during the 2003-2004 academic year.

The Bisons baseball team is the first men's team at Lipscomb to advance to NCAA Tournament play. The Lady Bisons basketball team participated in the NCAA Tournament in 2004, losing in the first round of the regionals. The Lady Bisons volleyball team played in the NCAA Tournament in 2007, also losing in the first round of regional play.

The 10-7 win over Georgia Friday night marked the first time any Lipscomb team has won an NCAA Tournament game.

A-SUN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: This is the first time in the last 10 years that the Atlantic Sun has sent only one team to the NCAA Tournament in baseball.

The conference had earned multiple bids in 12 of the last 13 and 15 of the last 20 NCAA Tournaments.

In 1990 Georgia Southern, a former A-Sun member, advanced to the College World Series. The last time an A-Sun team advanced to a Super Regional was Florida Atlantic in 2002.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Bisons won the Atlantic Sun Tournament with a 15-inning, 10-9 win over Gardner-Webb. The game was the longest in terms of innings in the title game, beating the previous record of 12.

The Bisons were the top-seed in the tournament, but finished third in the A-Sun. Florida Gulf Coast, the conference regular season champion, and Kennesaw State, the second place finisher, are not yet eligible for NCAA Tournament play.

The Bisons dominated the A-Sun Tournament finishing first in batting (.358), pitching (4.06 ERA), on-base pct. (.430), slugging pct. (.512), hits (77), doubles (12), home runs (seven), and RBI (49).

The Bisons never scored fewer than eight runs in a tournament game and averaged 10.4 runs per game.

ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Brandon McClurg, 6-5, 3.11 ERA, is expected to start for the Bisons. McClurg has held opponents to a .234 batting average.

PROJECTED POSITION STARTERS: C Caleb Joseph, 1B Ryan Wilkins, 2B Ben Williams, SS Jorge Gutierrez, 3B Branden Cadavid, RF Shane Simpkins, CF Allen Bolden, LF Blake Bratcher, DH Justin Sanders

AWARDS AND HONORS: Pitcher Brandon McClurg and catcher Caleb Joseph both were named to the All-Atlantic Sun Conference First Team.

Joseph was named MVP in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Also on the All-Tournament Team were pitcher Rex Brothers, relief pitcher Chris Burnett, third baseman Branden Cadavid, second baseman Ben Williams, center fielder Allen Bolden and right field Shane Simpkins.

McClurg has twice been named Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week. In addition, McClurg was also named as one of five "Louisville Slugger" National Players of the Week, as well as awarded the Southeast Region Performance of the Week by InsidePitching.com

McClurg threw a no-hitter against Kennesaw State, a 4-0 win March 29. It was the first A-Sun no-hitter in two years.

A-SUN RANKINGS: Brandon McClurg is third in the conference with a 3.11 earned run average. He is first in opponent's batting average (.234). He is fifth in strikeouts with 71, an average of 7.61 per game. Pitcher Rex Brothers is first in strikeouts with 96, besting his total of 94 as a freshman.

Catcher Caleb Joseph is tied for second in home runs (17). Joseph is first in total bases (160). He is fourth in slugging percentage (.637). He is fourth in RBI (61). He is tied for third in hits (89). He is fifth in doubles (20). He is eighth in runs scored (54). He is tied for sixth in sacrifice flies (6).

Designated hitter Justin Sanders is third in doubles with 22. Center fielder Allen Bolden is first in runs scored with 63. He is fourth in doubles with 21. He is tied for third in walks (38). He is tied for eighth in total bases (124).

Shortstop Jorge Gutierrez is tied for ninth in stolen bases with 18.

Second baseman Ben Williams is tied for sixth in sacrifice bunts (10).

THE .300 CLUB: Five Bisons are batting .300 or better. Caleb Joseph leads the way at .355 followed by Allen Bolden (.342), Shane Simpkins (.321), Blake Bratcher (.308) and Justin Sanders (.307).

Ben Williams is close at .296.

HEAR THE BAND: Bisons catcher Caleb Joseph (drums), Bisons pitchers Jordan Baron (rhythm guitar, lead vocals) and Jerry Young (bass guitar) are joined by Lipscomb student Trent Bailey (lead guitar) in rock band called "Cold Steal."

They have played several times at campus event. They practice in the baseball press box.

PERFECT ATTENDANCE: Three Bisons, Caleb Joseph, Allen Bolden and Jorge Gutierrez, have played and started in all 61 games this season.

BISONS A WINNER: The Bisons were the only team in the A-Sun Tournament with a winning overall record this season. They were one of two teams with a winning A-Sun record.

DUGAN AWARD: Second baseman Ben Williams has won the Ken Dugan Award, the highest honor a Lipscomb baseball player can receive, for the past two seasons. He is the only player to win the award twice