Between Jan. 21 and Feb. 1, GoHatters.com is counting down the Top 10 Games in Patricia Wilson Field history...
May 8, 2008, Home game #242
Stetson 3, Lipscomb 2
Stetson and Lipscomb developed quite a rivalry over the years, and one of the reasons is because the two teams frequently met in the postseason. In 2007, the Hatters eliminated Lipscomb on the first day of the conference tournament, sending the disappointed Bisons home with an 0-2 mark. In fact, although Lipscomb had continued to improve its regular season standing year after year, the Bisons had yet to win a postseason game in the Atlantic Sun.
In 2008 Lipscomb had its best season yet, finishing in a three-way tie for first and claiming the no. 1 seed for the conference tournament. The Hatters had a strong season as well, plus they were the defending champions, playing on their home field, and competing as the number two seed.
Back in 2008, the tournament format required all six teams to play twice on the first day, once in the early set of three games and once more in the later set. Both Stetson and Lipscomb were bitten by the upset bug in their opening games, Lipscomb suffering a 3-2 loss to Gardner-Webb and Stetson falling by the same score to Campbell.
Had the favorites won, the fifth seed and sixth seeds would have started the afternoon session with an elimination game. Instead, those bracket spots were filled by Lipscomb and Stetson, two teams that entered the day with high hopes of winning the conference title, now fighting for their lives in a do-or-die matchup.
The Hatters, playing as the visiting team, got off to a great start in top of the first inning. A one-out triple by Nicole Forbes and a two-out single by Lindsay Wightman gave Stetson an early 1-0 lead.
Lipscomb had a couple of early opportunities as well as the Bisons loaded the bases in the first and put runners on second and third in the second, but pitcher Amanda Lindsey was able to work out of trouble both times without any damage.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth when the Bisons broke through behind a pair of singles, two walks, and an RBI ground out to grab a 2-1 lead. The Hatters were down to just six outs, and when the middle of the order went down quietly in the sixth, it appeared as though the Hatters’ season might soon be over.
In the top of the seventh, after lead-off batter Amanda Bailey lined out to short, Lindsey stepped to the plate attempting to help her own cause. The Hatter sophomore drove one out of the park to straight away center field and circled the bases with a dramatic game-tying home run.
The Hatters still had work to do, and they got right to it. Leo Carreno worked a one out walk, but was then forced out at second when Amy Peters’ bloop to left was alertly thrown in to second base by Sara Simons. With the top of the order up and two outs, head coach Frank Griffin decided to gamble and see if Peters could steal her way into scoring position. She did.
That set the stage for Amy Joyce, who ripped a single back up the middle and immediately set Griffin’s right arm in motion. Peters rounded third as Lauren Dortwegt’s throw headed home and right on target. Catcher Jennifer Allsup received the throw and blocked nearly all of the plate, but Peters somehow found enough of an opening to slide her foot in under the tag.
"I know I was 0-for-3 going into that last at bat and wondering why Coach Griffin didn't pinch hit for me," Joyce recalled. "I guess it was a good thing he didn't and he must have had confidence that I could get on base. I knew I needed to get on base and then leave it up to (Nicole) Forbes to get us in, but luckily I had a great hit and Petey scored! That was a crazy game!!!"
The safe call from the home plate umpire brought jubilation from the Hatters’ side as Joyce took second on the play. However, she was stranded there, and Lipscomb now had three outs left to try and tie the game.
The drama was not over as Lipscomb put the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Lindsey got the last batter to pop out and the Hatters had survived with a 3-2 victory.
"I understand the police are over here looking for Amanda Lindsey because she just stole that ballgame," Griffin said after the game. "What can I say, these kids never quit."
Lipscomb did finally get a pair of postseason victories in 2009 and took home the A-Sun title in 2010, but Stetson’s two-run comeback over the Bisons in the 2008 conference tournament ranks as the no. 6 Top Game in Patricia Wilson Field history.