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Bisons are counting on Bolden, Sanders offensively
Allen Bolden
Allen Bolden

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lipscomb center fielder Allen Bolden is the top returning offensive player this season.

The loss of catcher Caleb Joseph, who signed at the end of last season with the Baltimore Orioles, has left an offensive gap for the Bisons.

“Allen has taken on being the team leader more,” said Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand. “I think he has wanted that and he earned it from his play last season. He wants to be the guy everyone turns to when the chips are down.

“It is going to be very difficult to replace 17 home runs and the batter who was kind of the backbone of the order.”

Bolden hit his first home run of the season and also added a single as he drove in two of the Bisons run Saturday afternoon in a 13-3 loss at Georgia Tech.

Also getting two hits for the second game in a row was first baseman Justin Sanders. He had one double, giving him two for the season.

“Justin had a great fall,” said Forehand. “In the early spring he was swinging the bat pretty good. He is going to be one of our best hitters this season.

“Allen and Justin will hopefully take on that middle role.”

Second baseman Andrew Nickerson also had two hits for the Bisons, including one double.

Brandon McClurg, a right-hander, started for the Bisons. He pitched three innings, allowing four hits and seven runs. Only two of the runs were earned.

Three Bisons were used in a relief role. Charles Williams gave up three hits and two runs, both earned, in one inning. Jerry Young struck out three, but scatted four hits and allowed four runs, all earned. Martin Grude pitched the final inning and did not give up a hit or a run.

Right-hander Josh Smith is expected to start Sunday’s game against Georgia Tech. Game time at Russ Chandler Stadium is 1 p.m.

Forehand stresses this is team that is still trying to find its own identity with the weight of trying to repeat as Atlantic Sun Champions. He expected that his team could have some struggles early, especially based on the schedule.

“Last year’s team was a veteran and experienced team from the outside in,” said Forehand. “This year’s team is still experienced. We have some guys who have waited their turn and have been around the block last year getting their feet wet in the conference tournament and the NCAA playoffs. We have a big freshman class that is not prepared for all of that.

“We want to play the best and put ourselves out there to get ourselves prepared again to do what last year’s team did. You can’t do that with a team that is coming in somewhat inexperienced unless you throw them out there against teams that are hopefully better than the ones we are going to see on weekends in the conference.”

Sunday's game can be heard at www.wrek.org. Live stats for the game will be available at Lipscombsports.com and at Ramblinwreck.com.