UNF herds Bison, advance to winners bracket in A-sun tourney

Travis Gibson

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Kyle Westwood ices up his shoulder after his 3 hit, 1-run complete game. (Photo Credit: Travis Gibson)

Kyle Westwood ices up his shoulder after his 3 hit, 1-run complete game. (Photo Credit: Travis Gibson)

DELAND, Fla. — In the early afternoon of the DeLand sun, the only wind blowing came from the wiffs of the Lipscomb bats.

UNF pitcher Kyle Westwood tossed a complete game, three-hit-seven strike out masterpeice to lead UNF to a 6-1 win over the Lipscomb Bisons.

The 9-inning outing was Westwood’s first complete game of the season.

“Westie threw a gem, kept us in there. We broke it open in the middle innings with some timely hits, which is what it’s all about,” head coach Smoke Laval said.

When he wasn’t striking out hitters, Westwood was able to coax the Bison into easy groundouts.

“He was up there throwing strikes and got ahead in the count on most everybody,” catcher Corey Bass said.

The only run scored by Lipscomb may not have happened if it wasn’t for the bang-bang play at first base that kept the Bison on the field in the 4th inning.

Bass said Westwood was using his fastball to get ahead in the count and the breaking ball to get strikeouts.

Westwood said he wasn’t feeling great in the beginning of the game, but it seems Bass, and the Lipscomb hitters, disagreed.

“He had all his pitches working especially early in the game,” Bass said.

The UNF offense used a big sixth inning to pull ahead of Lipscomb, who had grabbed a early 1-0 lead.

With one swing, junior Tyler Marincov lead off the 6th inning with a double in the right field gap.

On the second swing of the inning, Donnie Dewees put a ball in the same gap to score Marincov.

“It’s not about how many hits you get it’s about when you get them,” Laval said.

UNF had nine hits on the day.

Small ball and an error led to 3 more runs in the 6th, giving UNF a 4-1 lead it would never relinquish.

The rest was in the hands of Westwood.

He was hampered by a hamstring all season, but Westwood was in top form on Thursday. Laval chose to leave Westwood in the game because, “there’s no tomorrow,” for him.

The most innings Westwood had thrown this season before Thursday was seven.

“I was getting out of innings quick and keeping my pitch count down, which was big,” Westwood said.

Westwood threw 114 pitches and walked one in the  game.

UNF’s first game was scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed due to weather.

“[The postponed game] affects ya,” Laval said. “But we took what most people would say is a negative and turned it into a positive.”

The team had to wake up at 7 a.m. to prepare for the game, a wake up call the team wasn’t used to.

Westwood embraced the delay.

“If anything it helped me. It gave me an extra days rest. But playing at 10 a.m. was tough, we haven’t done it all year,” Westwood said.

UNF will play another early game against Kennesaw State in the second round on Friday. First pitch is at 10 a.m.