Happy Monday! This week’s Lipscomb by the numbers will be taking a look at our baseball team. The Bisons baseball team has had a string of tough non-conference teams to play recently, leading to a series of very tough games. But you wouldn’t know that looking at our conference record, with the start of conference play two weekends ago. Those conference numbers are what we’ll be looking at today.
Conference play began with an at home weekend series against Jacksonville from March 17th through March 19th. The Bisons had a bit of a rough Friday game, losing to the Jacksonville Dolphins 2-6, however, they turned around to win the series against the Dolphins with two phenomenal games on Saturday and Sunday. The Bisons beat the Dolphins 10-5 on Saturday and 10-0 on Sunday, run-ruling the Dolphins by the eighth inning (cutting the game short at the eighth inning because the Bisons were so far ahead of the at-zero Dolphins) on Sunday.
On the Bisons’ side during the Saturday game, junior outfielder #21 Alex Vergara batted in two home runs, as did redshirt sophomore catcher #22 Austin Kelly. Redshirt sophomore infielder #16 Parks Bouck batted in a whopping four runs, including his first homer of the season. By the end of the game, sophomore shortstop #8 Caleb Ketchup had one run, as did Vergara and sophomore outfielder #23 Will Lee. Bouck and Kelly both had two runs, and junior catcher #5 Jake Berg had crossed home plate a solid three times. Bouck was the only player to hit a home run during the game.
During the Sunday game, the score was held at 0-0 until the third inning, when the Bisons took it to 2-0 and then advanced it to a wild 7-0 in the fourth. Ketchup batted in one run, and Vergara, Kelly, sophomore third baseman #30 Trace Wilhoite, and sophomore first baseman #35 Mason Lundgrin had all batted in two runs. One of Vergara’s was a home run.
But those two wins were not enough for the Bisons. They would follow them with two more wins this weekend, to take the March 24-26 weekend series against the Queens Royals at their field in North Carolina. They won the Friday game 15-10, sadly lost the Saturday game 5-6, but rallied to win the Sunday game and take the series with an 8-0 win on the 26th.
On the Friday game, the Bisons hit an incredible six home runs, the most they’ve hit in one game since 2012! They also had a season high for runs. Ketchup batted in an incredible five runs, two of which were home runs. Wilhoite batted in a great three runs, including one home run. Kelly batted in two runs, one being a home run, and fifth year utility player #1 Chaz Bertolani also batted in two runs. Berg and Bouck would both bat in one run, both of which were home runs.
Just because the team lost the Saturday game doesn’t mean it was a bad game. Of the Bisons’ five runs of the game, three of them were home runs, hit by Vergara, Lundgrin and Kelly. Bouck and Wilhoite batted in the other two runs, bringing home Ketchup and Kelly.
In the Sunday game, the Bisons would face a rain delay in the middle of the second inning, directly after their first run of the game, batted in by Bertolani and bringing in Wilhoite, that would last one hour and 52 minutes, keeping both teams in their dugouts. Instead of throwing the Bisons off their stride however, the rain delay ended and the Bisons came up to bat yet again to finish out the second inning with two more runs, Ketchup reached on a throwing error to bring both Lee and Berg across the plate. Wilhoite and Kelly both batted in two runs, one of which was a home run in both cases. Lundgrin would also bat in one run. The star of the game was Bison graduate student left-handed pitcher Noah Thompson, who pitched a complete game (he threw for all nine innings), threw ten strikeouts, allowed only one hit and gave up only one walk through a whopping 105 pitches thrown.
The Bisons’ conference record is now 4-2, and though their next game is against Vanderbilt – a non-conference opponent – this Tuesday at six at Vanderbilt’s field, the Bisons will have a chance to up their conference record yet again during their next weekend series against the Liberty Flames at home this weekend. The Friday, Saturday and Sunday games will be at 6pm, 2pm and 1pm, respectively, at Dugan Field.