NASHVILLE – A balanced offensive effort and a strong pitching performance by Ryan Powers lifted the Miami baseball team to a 9-3 win at Lipscomb on Sunday afternoon.
The RedHawks (1-5) scored in all but two innings to give head coach Danny Hayden his first victory with Miami.
“It’s great to get that first win under everyone’s belt,” Hayden said. “Offensively, we’ve done a pretty good job so far this season at getting scoring opportunities, but today we got more big hits. We got the leadoff man on a lot, which made it a lot easier to run our offense. The players executed well throughout the game.”
Miami got on the board right away with Jake Romano drilling a leadoff double and advancing to third on a throwing error from a pickoff throw. Matt Honchel’s sacrifice fly two batters later allowed Romano to touch home and put MU ahead 1-0.
Lipscomb (1-6) threatened to tie it up in its half of the first as Ryan Powers issued a pair of walks to start the frame. After bouncing back to strike out the next two batters, a two-out single by Drew Adams loaded the bases, but Powers picked Mike Korte off at second base to escape the jam.
Kendall Johnson’s two-run double put the RedHawks up by a 3-0 count in the top of the second after John Crummy and Jacob Wolf reached via a single and an error, respectively. MU loaded the bases with one out after Steve Sada singled and Romano walked, but LU pitcher Denton Norman induced a pair of fielder’s choice ground outs to keep the Red and White from tacking on any more runs.
After a clean 1-2-3 inning by Powers, the RedHawks went back to work with the stick. Gary Russo led off the top of the third with a walk and moved up on Crummy’s sacrifice bunt before two wild pitches by Norman sent him home to make it 4-0 in favor of the RedHawks. Miami added single runs in the fourth and fifth via sacrifice flies by Dan Walsh and Wolf, respectively, to go up 6-0.
After loading the bases in the first inning, Powers got in a rhythm over the next few frames. He cruised through the next three innings, allowing only one single while striking out three. He retired 10 of 11 batters going into the fifth inning, but ran into some trouble when the Bisons put three-straight on with one down in the fifth. A Grant Massey walk was followed by back-to-back doubles from Nick Rome and Jonathan Allison that cut the RedHawks’ lead to 6-2. Powers limited the damage to just that, inducing consecutive ground outs to keep the lead intact.
The Red and White had another scoring opportunity in the sixth as a walk by Johnson and a single by Romano sandwiched around a Lipscomb error loaded the bases with nobody out. However, John Pryor kept Miami from tacking on any runs by forcing a double play and striking out another batter to keep LU within four runs.
After yielding a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth, Powers ended his afternoon by forcing Josh Lee to bounce into a 3-6-3 double play to keep Miami’s lead intact. The Red and White went right back to adding insurance runs, with Chad Sedio drilling a two-out RBI single to make it 7-2 in the seventh inning and Walsh blasting a two-run homer in the eighth to put the RedHawks on top 9-2.
The first three Lipscomb batters reached base in the bottom of the eighth as Allison and Korte both walked and Tyson Ashcraft hit an RBI single to make it 9-3. Ryan Marske settled down from there and fanned Griffin Moore, retired Drew Adams on a pop out and then got out of the inning on a Lee lineout.
Ryan Powers (1-1) turned in a strong start, holding the Bisons to two runs on five hits in six innings. He also struck out five batters while walking three. After loading the bases in the first inning, Powers allowed only five total base runners in his last five innings of work to pick up the win.
“Ryan was awesome getting back in the dugout quickly today,” Hayden said. “That helps the offense a lot when we don’t have to sit in the field for half an hour before we can go to the plate again.”
Freshman Steve Sada went 3-for-3 on the afternoon, one of three multi-hit games for the RedHawks. Romano finished 2-for-5 with a double, a steal and a walk while Russo ended up 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and two runs scored. Eight of Miami’s nine positional starters reached base at least once on Sunday.
The RedHawks return to the diamond on Friday when they open up a three-game weekend series at Davidson. First pitch is at 6 p.m.