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Bisons split with JU as Messer slams three homers
Josh Smith
Josh Smith

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Jacksonville Dolphins have never won a series at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.

Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand is hopeful that holds true this weekend. The Bisons and Dolphin s are scheduled to play game three Saturday at 3 p.m., but the starting time could change based on the weather.

Friday night the Bisons split a doubleheader with Jacksonville, winning game one 7-4 and losing game two 22-6. This was the first time the teams have met since Jacksonville rallied to beat the Bisons 7-4 for the A-Sun Tournament Championship last year.

“It was a tale of two games,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “Every game is important for us. I kept reminding our players every time they came in that even though we were down 13-1 it was still important.

“Fortunately, we got the first one. We have to forget about this second game and move on and win the series. If we win the series it will put us in good shape.”

Lipscomb starting pitcher Josh Smith struck out 11, the fourth time in his last five starts that he has reached double figures in strikeouts. Smith also reached 100 strike outs for the season. It was also the fourth complete game for Smith this season.

“It is so interesting how baseball is,” Forehand said. “Josh pitched great. We played solid in the first game.

“Then we came back and went down 13-1, and that just changed everything. It‘s not that you can't come back from being 13 runs down. But we were having to play station-to-station and it is hard to get anything going when you have to play like that.”

Zach Messer blasted a grand slam in the fourth inning to spark the win for the Bisons in game one. Andrew Nickerson and Logan Hostettler each homers in the fifth inning. Smith gave up a pair of home runs as Jonathan Murphy and Alex Martinez connected for the Dolphins.

In game two Jacksonville jumped out to a 13-1 lead in the first three innings and never looked back. The 22 runs were the most given up in a game by the Bisons this season.

The Dolphins pounded out 21 hits. The Bisons finished with 15.

Messer hit two home runs in game two, giving him three for the night. He has five for the season. He also had three RBI in game two giving him seven for both games.

M.L. Williams, Rickey Coleman and Cory Hale each had doubles for the Bisons.

Davey Hackett, 3-5, started for the Bisons. He gave up six hits and six runs, four earned, in 1.2 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

He was one of six Bisons pitchers to throw in the game.

Chris Nunn had the longest stint on the mound, pitching 3.1 innings. He allowed six hits and four runs, all earned. He walked five and struck out four.

Freshman Erik Natusch made his first appearance of the season, closing out the game with a scoreless ninth inning. He struck out one batter and did not allow a base runner.

Forehand is not sure who will start for the Bisons in game three.

The Bisons are 15-29 overall, 6-11 in the A-Sun. Jacksonville is 20-18, 10-7 in the conference.

“Every game we play is pivotal for us,” Forehand said. “It is not like our backs are pinned against the wall. But with every game the wall gets closer.”

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