Lipscomb won't have to travel far when they kick off their 2015 NCAA Baseball Tournament; Vanderbilt's Hawkins Field is only three miles from campus.
The Hawk will be a familiar setting as well. The Bisons (whose most heated collegiate rival is proper pluralization) notched their biggest win of the season when they toppled the then-#1 Commodores on the road back in April. Bradley Puckett twirled 7.1 stellar innings to snap Vandy's six-game winning streak and banish the 'Dores from the top spot on the national rankings from the rest of the season. Tim Corbin's team failed to push a run across the plate until the eighth inning and left seven runners on base in a loss that would become endemic to this team's struggles in 2015.
Now, Lipscomb has the opportunity to prove that win was no fluke. A second win over Vanderbilt would cement their status as a top 50 baseball team and move them one step closer to a Super Regional bid. However, a look at their record shows why Vandy will be a big favorite on Friday despite being 0-1 against their in-city foes.
The Bisons have a marquee win over the Commodores, but they were relatively untested throughout the 2015 season. In their 57 games, they only faced top 100 competition a dozen times. They'll step into a whole new world on Friday when they square off with Vandy ace Carson Fulmer. Fulmer, a probable top-15 pick in this year's MLB Draft, is a tier above most SEC pitchers. Transitioning from the cream of the Atlantic Sun crop to face a pitcher who may be the best in the entire NCAA will be a monstrous undertaking for Lipscomb.