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Wednesday, April 21, 2010Lipscomb Bisons coach Jeff Forehand got a win, but he also has found himself a dilemma _ how to find more playing time for freshman infielder T.J. Hoelzer.
Hoelzer led all batters with four hits in four trips to the plate Wednesday night in a 7-4 win over Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. He also had a single in the ninth inning in his only trip to the plate Tuesday night in the 13-10 loss to Vanderbilt. He did not play in the three-game series this past weekend with Florida Gulf Coast. On April 13 he had one hit in two trips to the plate against Tennessee.
“We have been trying to work T.J. in,” Forehand said. “I told T.J. and the infielders that I wanted to get him in the game, but that means that an older guy has to move out. He got four hits and made all the plays at short.
“He is going to be a good addition for us. We’ve got five guys who can play second, short and third and one of them is going to be the designated hitter. We will see how he works out this weekend.”
The Bisons beat the Skyhawks, an Ohio Valley Conference team, 4-1 March 3. The Skyhawks slipped to 18-18 on the season. The Bisons jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. They added one in both the fourth and the sixth and two in the eighth.
The Skyhawks never led in the game with two runs in the sixth, both on a home run to right by Brent Morris. They scored one each in the seventh and ninth innings.
“We got off to a good start and then we kind of slowed down,” Forehand said. “We didn’t put the runs up like we have been but we got 12 hits. Our offense is still coming around.”
Wednesday night the Bisons pounded out 12 hits, but capitalized on two passed balls and one wild pitch to get three of their runs.
In the second inning Ryan Wilkins went to first base after being hit by a pitch and moved around the bases on a single by Hoelzer. He scored on a passed ball. In the fourth inning Hoelzer reached base with a single up the middle. He moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sacrifice by Logan Hostettler. Hoelzer then scored on a passed ball.
In the sixth Hoelzer led off the inning with a single to center. He moved to third on a pair of ground outs. Hoelzer scored on a wild pitch.
M.L. Williams drove in three runs, including two RBI on a double through the left side that scored Hoelzer in the second inning. Williams singled in the eighth inning to bring in Shawn Mehring and Hoelzer. Williams had three hits in four trips to the plate.
“M.L. has been doing a great job lately,” Forehand said. “He has been getting the sacrifice bunt down when he needs to in order to move a runner. And he steps up in the end with a base hit up the middle.
“Every time we put Shawn Mehring in a game he steps up and is ready to play. He gets a double in the eighth and scores on M.L.’s squibber up the middle. I’m proud of what he Shawn did too.”
Dannie Strable started in the circle for the Bisons, going four innings and keeping the Skyhawks scoreless. Strable held UT Martin to only two hits, while striking out one and walking two.
Mike Grace relieved Strable at the start of the fifth inning. He gave up three runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking one.
The Bisons continued to keep UT Martin batters guessing by bringing in Alex Ross to pitch in the middle of the seventh inning. Ross struck out one and gave up one hit. Ross (2-3) was credited with the win.
Chad Fromm got his fourth save of the season for the Bison pitching staff, as he replaced Ross during the eighth inning. Fromm gave up two hits and one run. He struck out three, including the last two batters of the game, sealing the deal for the Bisons.
“Our pitching did a great job,” Forehand said. “Dannie gave us four zeroes. Mike hit a little bump and gave up the home run. We brought Alex in to face a lefty and he got him out. Chad finished it up.”
The Bisons, 14-25, 5-7 in the conference, return to Atlantic Sun competition this weekend when they visit Stetson in Deland, Fla., for a three-game series Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations; and Katie Haab, student assistant in the sports information department.