Lipman comes through for TSU
He did it once.
Then Brian Lipman went back and did it again.
The Troy State third baseman hit a two-run homer in the third to cut Jacksonville’s lead to 5-4. Then, after the Dolphins had pushed their advantage to 7-4, Lipman answered the call for a second straight at-bat, sending a three RBI shot over the right field fence and propelling the Trojans to an 8-7 victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
The Miller brothers, Drew and Wade, both chipped in RBIs as well. Lipman’s first home run followed Drew’s solo homer in the third. It was a repeat of the same performance a night earlier as Miller and Lipman combined for consecutive homers in a Trojans’ 12-7 win on Friday.
"Both of them were fastballs," Lipman said of his 16th and 17th home runs of the season. "He got behind me on the count and I was looking for a strike and that’s what he threw me. We came out and swung the bats real well today. When it gets hot out here the balls do fly."
TSU starter Justin Eason opened the game in trouble, giving up four runs in the first inning alone. Another JU runner crossed home plate in the second, forcing Troy State head coach John Mayotte to bring in Marcus Bell.
All of a sudden, the Trojans were staring at a 5-0 deficit.
Lipman, however, wasn’t worried.
"We’ve got good hitters on our team," he said. "We’re all good enough that even if we get behind in the count we can still put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense."
Mal Winters and Doug Atkins limited the the Dolphins to just one hit in relief of Bell, allowing a team that had once dropped eight straight games and were at one point knee-deep in a 9-19 hole to even out its record for the season. A 2-0 win in the second game would push the Trojans’ record to 27-26, the first time the Trojans have been above .500 since the beginning of the year.
"I can’t even tell you when it was," said Lipman. "But it feels good."
Lipman said, for the hitters, it was all a matter of getting back to fundamentals and finding their swing.
"In the middle of the season we were struggling and we hit a lot of pop flys," he said. "We weren’t putting pressure on the defense. But then we started hitting ground balls. Once we started hitting ground balls, it started going linedrive, linedrive, home run. That’s when good things started to happen. We work hard in daily practice, striving for this kind of play out of ourselves."
The Jacksonville pitching staff came into Troy with a solid 3.71 ERA. Lipman said he and his teammates didn’t treat the unit as a squad which Mayotte called, "collectively, one of the best in the country."
I guess we just treated them as any other pitchers," he said. "You can’t treat any pitcher differently then any other pitcher and that’s what we did. This gives us some momentum going into this next weekend. We still have to work hard. They’re a good ball team but we expect to beat teams like this."