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Bisons explode offensively with 22 hits and 20 runs against USC Upstate
Allen Bolden
Allen Bolden

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Lipscomb Bisons offense got on track in a big way Sunday afternoon with 22 hits and 20 runs in an Atlantic Sun doubleheader with USC Upstate.

The Bisons pounded out 11 hits on the way to a 13-3 victory in game one. In game two they also had 11 hits, all singles, for a 7-2 win at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. It was the first doubleheader sweep of the season for the Bisons and first series sweep as well.

“The offense hasn’t gotten started like we think it can go,” said Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand. “To have two games with double figures in hits is a plus for us to get some things going. We need to see if we can keep this thing rolling.”

In game one the Bisons opened with six runs, added two in the third and five in the sixth. The game was called in the seventh inning since the Bisons were winning by 10 runs in the first game of a conference doubleheader.

The first inning was highlighted by Justin Sanders eighth double of the season and a two-run single by Allen Bolden. Antonio Butler hit and RBI single, his first of three RBI in the game, a season high for him.

In the third Butler blasted a two-run home run to center field, his second two-RBI homer in as many days.

“Antonio is swinging the bat pretty good,” said Forehand. “We felt like he was going to contribute by being on the bases and stealing bases. We thought he would bunt the ball and press the defense. We thought he would be a disruption like that.

“We didn’t expect him to contribute by hitting the ball out of the park. But we will take couple of home runs every now and then when he gets good swings on them.”

In many ways Butler is also surprised at his power surge.

“I usually just try to hit ground balls and run because of my speed,” said Butler. “I guess I have the potential to hit home runs, but that is not part of my game. I’m just taking full advantage of the opportunities I have this season.”

In the sixth Tyler Wilson stole home for one run. Bolden doubled to drive in a pair of runs. Bolden’s four RBI were a personal season high.

In an effort to change his hitting fortunes Bolden chose not to have any music played before he came to the plate.

“Allen has been fighting against himself a little bit,” said Forehand. “With two pretty good games hopefully it will get him back on track.”

M.L. Williams, Wilson, Logan Hostettler, Bolden and Butler each had two hits in the first game.

In game one USC Upstate scored one run in the third and two in the fourth on six hits.

Senior right-hander Brandon McClurg started for the Bisons and picked up his second win in three decisions. He pitched all seven innings. Only one of the three runs he gave up was earned. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Game two started out differently for the Bisons. They spotted USC Upstate two runs in the third inning.

Tennyson Dodd singled in the fourth inning for the Bisons first hit.

The Bisons scored three runs in the fifth inning and added four in the eighth to ice the game.

Wilson, Dodd, Branden Cadavid and Jay Moreland each had two hits for the Bisons.

Junior right-hander Josh Smith, 2-0, threw seven innings. He scattered four hits and only one of the two runs was earned. He struck out five and walked two.

Senior right-hander Kyle Tognazzini pitched the final two innings. He struck out three of the seven batters he faced. He gave up one hit and did not walk a batter for his fourth save of the season.

“Josh was cruising pretty good but Togs was fresh,” said Forehand.

The Bisons have evened their overall record at 8-8, 5-1 in the A-Sun. USC Upstate fell to 5-9, 1-5 in the conference.

“We would like to be 6-0 in the conference, but 5-1 is a good start,” said Forehand. “Every weekend is tough. We have had good pitching the last couple of weekends and the hitting is starting to come around. It is exciting when you can put it all together.”

Tuesday at 4 p.m. Evansville visits the Lipscomb campus. The Bisons will play Samford Wednesday at 3.

They will play their second straight home A-Sun series against Stetson Friday, Saturday and Sunday.