Saturday, May 23, 2009
DELAND, Fla. - Thanks to Brendan Cadavid's ninth-inning single, Lipscomb will play for back-to-back Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship titles as the Bisons beat the ETSU Buccaners, 5-4, on Saturday from Stetson’s Melching Field at Conrad Park.
Cadavid, a member of last year’s All-Tournament team, lifted a fly ball to right field that fell just inside the foul line and in front of ETSU’s Cory Betterson. Antonio Butler, who led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a ground out, touched the plate with the winning run.
Lipscomb (24-31) held a 3-0 lead through six innings behind five shut-out frames from First-Team All-Atlantic Sun pitcher Rex Brothers. After 86 pitches, Brandon McClurg entered in relief and threw a one-two-three sixth inning. ETSU (25-28) cut into the lead in the seventh, plating a pair of runs courtesy a two-out, two-run single from All-Freshman third baseman Bo Reeder. Brothers struck out six in his five innings on the mound, boosting his A-Sun leading total to 135, good for the eighth-highest single-season mark in conference history, and the most since UCF’s Justin Pope fanned 158 in 2001.
The Bisons tacked on a run of their own in their half of the seventh when Logan Hostettler circled the bases after singling to lead off the inning. M.L. Williams brought in Hostettler with single of his own.
For the second-straight inning, the Buccaneers offense responded against McClurg, starting with a one-out walk to Garret May and a single by Chris Rankhorn. One out later, a Jacob Fabry dribbler in front of the plate turned into an infield single and an RBI with Reeder drving home Rankhorn in the next at-bat while also putting runners at the corners. Josh Smith relieved McClurg and quelled the rally as he struck out Troy Mendez.
After an unproductive home eighth, Smith breezed through the the top of the ninth with a one-two-three frame setting up Bisons for the second-straight last-at-bat victory at the A-Sun Championships. Lipscomb won its last A-Sun Championship game, the 2008 title game, with a single by Shane Simpkins in the 15th inning, ending the longest conference title game in NCAA history.
The junior earned the win as he improved to 6-3 while ETSU reliever Darren Caldwell (4-3) took the loss in his second appearance of the championship.
The Bisons will play for a second A-Sun Championship in as many years whenf they face the Belmont-Jacksonville winner. The Bruins and Dolphins take the field at 4:55 p.m. with the title game set to follow 35 minutes after the final out.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.