NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb baseball team mounted a late inning comeback but it would be too little, too late, as the Bisons dropped a 10-6 decision to Indiana State on Friday afternoon in the opening round of the 2014 “Mule Mix Classic” at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
After giving up five runs in the first five innings of action, the Bisons (0-5) finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. Junior shortstop Grant Massey ledoff the frame with a double to the left center gap before moving up to third on a wild pitch. That set things up for senior catcher Nick Rome who delivered a sacrifice fly to left that scored Massey from third.
“I don’t think we put ourselves in a bad spot,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “Indiana State continued to hit the ball and move runners over when they needed to. We obviously didn’t do things like we have practiced, but you have to give them (Indiana St.) credit. They hit the ball when they needed to. We have to clean our game up a little bit.”
The 5-1 score would not hold long however as the Sycamores (4-1) added a run in the sixth and another in the seventh to push the lead to 7-1 before the Bisons bats woke back up. Back-to-back singles by Jonathan Allison and Mike Korte got the rally started in the seventh for the Bisons. The duo then moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch.
Junior first baseman Griffin Moore then made it a 7-2 contest with a ground out to short that scored Allison. Korte then crossed the dish two batters later on an RBI single through the left side by junior left fielder Josh Lee.
Down 7-3, Lipscomb kept the bats going in the eighth trying to cut into the Indiana State deficit. Massey got the inning started with a leadoff walk before Allison put both in scoring position with a double to right field. That set the table for junior designated hitter Tyson Ashcraft who laced a double down the left-field line to make it a three-run contest at 7-4.
“We moved Ashcraft up in the order tonight to try and get him another at-bat,” Forehand said. “He has been our run producer so far and we are counting on him every game to do that. He had a great at-bat tonight a lefty and knocked in two for us. Every time he come up to bat, we think he can make something happen.”
That three-run margin would be short lived however as the Sycamores answered right back in the top of the ninth with a two-run stanza to regain a five-run cushion. The Bisons threatened again in the ninth pushing home a run when Lee scored on a double down the left-field line by Massey but that is close as the Purple and Gold would come.
Kurt Kudrecki picked up the win on the hill for Indiana State tossing five and two-thirds innings. The junior allowed three hits, one run and six walks while fanning seven. Lipscomb starter Jacob Knott took the loss for the Bisons working three and one-thirds innings. The redshirt senior gave up five hits, three runs and walked one while striking out six.
Ryan Keaffaber picked up the save coming on to douse the rally in the ninth by sending both batters he faced back to the dugout.
“We didn’t give up tonight,” Forehand said. “We came back strong in the last few innings and that is encouraging to see. I like this team and think they have a lot of potential. We just have to continue to stick together.
“The guys know we didn’t perform like we’ve practiced. I told them ‘we can’t get frustrated’, because we have to come back tomorrow and try to get a win.”
The Bisons continue action in the 2014 “Mule Mix Classic” on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. hosting Dayton at Dugan Field. The event then concludes on Sunday with a 1 p.m. tilt against Miami (Ohio).