NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After a lengthy home stand, the Lipscomb softball team will be in California this weekend for the Mustang Classic. The five-game showcase begins for the Lady Bison Friday at 12 noon (CT) against UNLV.
Lipscomb follows that up with a 5 p.m. tilt against host Cal Poly. Saturday, the Lady Bison face Cal Poly at 5 p.m. and UNLV at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Bison end the weekend with a Sunday morning tilt with Ball State beginning at 11 a.m.
Lipscomb enters the weekend as winners of eight of their last nine dating back to March 4. In that time, the Lady Bison are hitting .287 as a squad with a team ERA of 1.33. In that time, redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson has not allowed an earned run in 21 innings pitched, while senior Whitney Kiihnl has picked up five of Lipscomb’s victories.
With the next win Lipscomb earns, head coach Kristin Ryman will pick up her 200th career victory. She’s approaching the all-time school-record of 222, currently held by Andy Lane (1996-99, 2003-05).
Last Time Against This Weekend’s Opponents
Lipscomb faced Ball State earlier this year, falling in a 2-0 pitcher’s duel at the Citrus Classic in Orlando. Anderson went six innings, scattering four hits and two earned runs while striking out three in the loss. This will be Lipscomb’s first meeting with both UNLV and Cal Poly.
Recent Roll Nets Lady Bison Votes in Poll
Winning eight of their last nine games have earned the Lady Bison some love in the polls. In the March 20 ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, Lipscomb received two votes, their first in a regular-season poll since April 20, 2010. Lipscomb also earned preseason votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
Fact of the Weekend
The last time Lipscomb was this far west was the 2010 season. The Lady Bison went 1-5 at the Hawaii Spring Fling, with Kiihnl shutting out 12th-ranked California for the lone victory. From that point, Lipscomb would only lose six games the rest of the 2010 season.
Lady Bison Earn Split With Marshall
After suffering a rainout against UAB, Lipscomb did get a doubleheader in against a Conference USA foe when Marshall came to town. The Lady Bison earned a split with the Thundering Herd, dropping a 2-1 pitcher’s duel in eight innings but rebounding for a 4-1 victory. Kiihnl dropped game one but was stellar in defeat, not allowing a run until the final inning and finishing with a season-high tying 11 strikeouts. Freshman Gracey Aguirre hit her first collegiate home run in the second game and Anderson went the distance, failing to allow an earned run for her fourth consecutive appearance for the win.
- UNLV – Though only 14-12, UNLV already has three losses to top-25 schools: No. 5 Oklahoma (Feb. 10, 5-0), No. 23 Houston (Feb. 25, 11-7) and No. 24 North Carolina (March 9, 5-0).
- Cal Poly – The host Mustangs have not played a game outside the state of California since Feb. 12. Even though they haven’t left the Golden State since then, these will be the first home games of 2012 for Cal Poly.
- Ball State – The Cardinals have already been a foe of Lipscomb once this year, in a hard-fought 2-0 game. Ball State tied a season-low with only four hits in their previous match-up with the Bison, belying the team’s .313 average for the season.
Lipscomb By the Numbers
Despite limited action last week, Lipscomb continues to rank highly in several categories in this week’s NCAA stat updates. Kiihnl continues to rank high in wins (12th with 13) and shutouts (seventh with six), and is in the top 100 in ERA (96th, 2.03) and strikeouts per seven innings (80th, 7.2). Sophomore Rena’ Cothron is second in the nation in sacrifices per game at 0.52/g. Junior Kelsey Cartwright ranks in the top-25 in home runs per game (20th, 0.33/g) and slugging percentage (23rd, .833) and is also in the top-100 in batting average (.409). Lipscomb as a team is one of the top in the nation in home runs per game (34th, 0.9/g) and winning percentage (38th, .714). The Lady Bison are slugging .439 as a team (53rd) and scoring an average of 4.95 runs per game (69th).
Lipscomb will kick off the Atlantic Sun campaign next weekend, traveling to Florida for doubleheaders at North Florida (March 30) and Jacksonville (March 31).