The Bisons are off to an 8-3 start to their season and just pulled an impressive series win over an Ohio State team that made a Regional last season. Lipscomb is still not a team projected to compete for the Atlantic Sun championship, but that series win against the Buckeyes certainly elevated things for a program that’s already done something rather impressive: made the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2015 after making the jump from NAIA to Division I in 2001.
Fun fact: Lipscomb’s pitching coach, Grayson Crawford, is the son of Donny Crawford, a bit of a legend in Tuscaloosa-area baseball. He was an assistant at UA for three years in the mid-80’s, coached high school ball for years and had an 11-year tenure as Stillman’s head coach. He’s still coaching, helping out at Gordo.
This team was supposed to be led by its lineup, and that has come true thus far. Catcher Chaz Bertolani is hitting .455, all be it with very little power (one double in 22 at-bats). Lipscomb hasn’t needed power from Bertolani since they’ve been getting enough from their next three hitters by batting average: DH Malik Williams (.333, three home runs and a double), 2B Haddon Adams (.333, three doubles and a home run) and CF Maddox Houghton (two doubles and a homer).
Even more power is coming from 1B Chris Bashlor — five of hits 12 hits have been extra-base hits, three doubles and two homers for a .512 slugging on a .293 batting average.
The Bisons are 18-for-18 on stolen base attempts this year: Adams is 5-5, Houghton is 4-4 and John Shields is 3-3.
The Saturday starter, Max Habegger, is off to a strong start: a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and striking out 14. He can be a bit wild, two wild pitches and four hit by pitches, but clearly the run prevention has been there. The catch: he has yet to finish six innings, even in throwing 96 pitches in his start against Ohio State.
Lipscomb is sticking with its Friday night starter, Scott Elgin, despite a really rough start for the sophomore righty: a .423 batting average allowed an 8.71 ERA in three starts, 10 1/3 innings. He’s almost allowed as many extra-base hits (five) as he has strikeouts (six).
Tyler Guilfoil is by far the best bullpen arm: he has yet to give up a hit in five appearances, seven innings, allowing three walks and striking out 10. He has the save in four of Lipscomb’s eight wins. Another solid one is Wyatt Folsom, sporting a 0.777 WHIP over his seven appearances.
The catch: almost this entire staff is right-handed. The only lefty that is not in the starting rotation (Habegger is a lefty) is Logan Van Treeck, who has a 9.28 ERA through 10 2/3 innings this year.
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson