Feb. 11, 2007
After the first inning on Sunday, February 11, Bisons' pitcher Matt Schnelly had done what no Lipscomb starter had this season; shut the opposition down. The Bisons went on to win the game, 5-1, their first of the season.
"It was a great win against a great team," head coach Jeff Forehand said. "There are reasons we chose to pitch Schnelly on Sunday. We felt like he would give us exactly what he gave us, a steady performance."
It was the first time in three games, the Bisons' came to bat without trailing. Six batters later, and the Bisons had their first lead of the series.
Evansville tied the game on a one out homer in the third by Jeff Zelenovich.
The Bisons regained the lead in the bottom of the inning. Casey Bond led off with a bunt single, before immediately stealing second. Bond advanced to third on a fly ball out, off the bat of Joseph. Sanders followed with an RBI single to left center to give the Bisons a 2-1 lead.
The Purple Aces nearly tied the score in the fifth, but a perfect throw by left-fielder Allen Bolden, nailed the runner at home, preserving the one run lead.
The Bisons added to the lead with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Bond once again got Lipscomb started with a lead-off double to right. After Joseph bunted the runner to third, right-hander Matt Brinkmann came on in relief of Evansville's Wade Kapteyn. Brinkmann quickly recorded the first out before intentionally walking Amos to put runners on the corners for Shane Simpkins. Simpkins followed with a big two RBI double to right to give the Bisons a 4-1 lead.
Senior right-hander Rob Smithson relieved Schnelly to start the sixth. In five innings, Schnelly gave up one run on eight hits, while striking out three.
"Schnelly was a calming influence," Forehand said. "He only made one bad pitch and it left the park. He was mixing three pitches for strikes. He is a veteran guy who gives us a chance to win, every inning."
Smithson picked up right where Schnelly left off, shutting out the Purple Aces over the final four innings. In his four innings of work, Smithson gave up just three hits and struck out six.
The Bisons added another run in the sixth after Ben Williams scored on an error.
Simpkins led the Bisons on offense with two RBI's, with Sanders and Amos contributing one a piece. Bond led the team in hits with two.
In a game in which the Bisons at last found a way to record the clutch hit and score the big run, the story was undeniably the pitching lines of two senior right-handers.
It was exactly the lift the team needed. It is likely no coincidence that for such a young team, it took the leadership of its veterans to get the Bisons on the winning path. Schnelly recorded the win to bring his record to 1-0.
"Rob's four scoreless innings were huge for us," Schnelly said. "He made sure that a good Evansville team was not able to claw their way back into the game. Also the defense was behind us 100 percent. They turned some important double plays which really turned out to be huge. Our guys battled it out and were able to get some clutch hits.
"We were clicking on all cylinders today. Now that we've proven we can win, this victory can only add confidence. Guys are stepping up, our freshmen have proven they belong at this level, and we just have to go from there. Hopefully we can take the momentum from this win and do it again on Tuesday."
The Bisons are set to return to action when they travel to Auburn, Alabama, to take on Auburn University in a single game on Tuesday, February 13, at 3 p.m.