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Bisons hold off late Illinois rally for 8-6 win
Rickey Coleman
Rickey Coleman

Friday, March 12, 2010

It was the classic case of better late than never as the Lipscomb Bisons scored five runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth to beat Illinois Friday in the first round of the Caravell Resort Classic hosted by Coastal Carolina.

It was the second win in a row for the Bisons who were out-hit 10-9 at Watson Stadium in Conway, S.C.

“We talked before the game that everybody in college baseball is good,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “I asked how many of our players had heard of Canisius before we played them. Several of our players had not heard of them, but they came in and beat us.

“You have to prepare to play every team. Everyone has heard about Illinois. Getting a win against a big name team does help our confidence. Hopefully, we can build on it.”

Senior right-hander Josh Smith, 2-1, pitched 8.1 innings for the Bisons to pick up the win, his second in three decisions this season. Smith gave up nine hits and six runs, five of them earned. He walked three and struck out three.

“Josh gave up two runs early and his pitch count was down,” Forehand said. “He really didn’t have a finishing strikeout pitch, but he did a masterful job. They were hitting balls to us.

“I don’t think he got tired. I only took him out because I wanted to stop Illinois’ momentum in the ninth.”

Junior right-hander Chad Fromm closed out the game pitching the final two-thirds. He allowed one hit. He earned his second save of the season.

“We are going to go to him at the end of games,” Forehand said. “He has one win and two saves. We will keep going to him when the time calls for it.”

Illinois led for most of the game scoring two runs in the third and one run in the sixth. Forced to play catch-up after the Bisons scored five in the eighth, Illinois added one run in the eighth and two in the ninth.

“Their pitcher (Will Strack) kept us off balance for the majority of the game,” Forehand said. “Josh was pitching great too. They changed pitchers and we are able to put some runs across in the eighth.

“Ricky Coleman came in and hit a single up the middle to score two runs. We also scored on two passed balls and two throwing errors mixed in. That was a big hit by Ricky and then they made some mistakes to let us in the door.”

Tyler Wilson and Zach Messer each had two hits for the Bisons. Cory Hale's double in the ninth inning was the only extra base hit for the Bisons. He drove in two runs. Hale also stole home for the third run.

Hale and Tyler Wilson each had two stolen bases.

The Bisons, 5-8, will play Michigan Saturday at 11 followed by Ball State at 4. Michigan beat Ball State 12-8 Friday. Michigan is 5-7. Ball State falls to 4-10.

Michigan plans to use either right-hander Tyler Burgoon (2-1, 7.71 earned run average) or Bobby Brosnahan (0-1, 6.23). The Bisons will go with either junior left-hander Alex Ross (1-0, 3.38 ERA) or sophomore right-hander Dannie Strable (0-0, 3.98). Sophomore right-hander Davey Hackett (1-1, 5.29) will get the start against Ball State.

“It is hard to get a lot of information on a team when you only play them one time,” Forehand said. “It is going to be a long day of baseball. We are here to play strong teams that will get us ready for next weekend and the start of conference play.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.