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Baseball opens three-game series at Mercer Thursday
Jeff Forehand
Jeff Forehand

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Bisons will need to have a short memory in order to bounce back from last night’s 16-15 loss at Austin Peay.  They will head south to take on the Mercer Bears Thursday to kick off a three-game series.

The Bears are the defending Atlantic Sun champions and were the preseason number one choice to repeat.  Mercer is coming off a 6-3 home win against No. 9 Georgia Tech Tuesday night.  The win completed a season sweep over the Yellow Jackets.  Mercer also beat them 4-2 back on March 29th.

Bisons head coach Jeff Forehand said Lipscomb will need to play more consistently in every phase of the game in order to steal the road series this weekend.

“Mercer is a really good team,” Forehand said.  “They had a really big win Tuesday night against Georgia Tech.  They are a good team.  They were picked to win the league, and we have to go down to their place and play our best baseball.”

Despite Tuesday’s loss to Austin Peay that dropped the Bisons to 14-24 overall and 5-10 in the Atlantic Sun, the Bisons had one of their best offensive outputs of the season.  Lipscomb amounted a season-high 22 hits and scored 15 runs.  Forehand said if the Bisons are going to be successful down the final stretch of the conference season, they are going to have play well in every aspect of the game.  

“I am getting to the point where I hate putting them behind us when we play better in one phase of the game and then we play poorly in the other two.” Forehand said.  “We have got to put all three phases of the game together.”

“Last night we finally came out and swung the bats and got 22 hits.  We put ourselves in bad position because we didn’t pitch it as well as we have been pitching all year.  Defensively we were below average and we gave Austin Peay to many chances to win the game and they took advantage of the last one when they had to.”

With still five A-Sun conference series remaining, the Bisons still have an opportunity to get back in to the mix for a chance at a spot in the conference tournament that will be held at Ken Dugan Field in May.  However, the margin of error for the Bisons has become minimal and this week’s series against Mercer is crucial.  

The Bears (25-15, 9-11) currently reside in eighth place in the A-Sun standings.  Forehand said he was grateful to be able to get back to action quickly with Thursday night’s series opener.  

“Football teams have to wait for a week to play after a loss,” Forehand said.  “That’s a long time to let it sit there.  Baseball is a game where you are typically prepared to play most days.”

“We will go down Wednesday night and get a good practice in at Mercer.  I think the best medicine is to get back out there and try and correct what you did wrong the night before.”

Lipscomb will throw left-handed sophomore Blake Fonfara to start things off on Thursday night.  On Friday, right-handed junior Connor Sinclair will take to the mound.  The Bisons starter for Saturday’s series finally has yet to be determined.

“I have told our team all along, what we have to do to keep ourselves in position for the post-season is to do the same thing we have set out to do in every conference series so far,” Forehand said.  “And that is to win the series.”

The three game series at Mercer will begin Thursday night at 6 p.m. central at Claude Smith Field.