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Lady Bisons prepare for invasion from Georgia A-Sun teams

Friday, April 13, 2007

April 13, 2007

The Lady Bisons softball team faces two challenges from the state of Georgia this weekend with Mercer University visiting Friday and Kennesaw State making an appearance Saturday.

All games will be played on the Lipscomb campus at Draper Diamond.

The Mercer doubleheader marks the first time the two A-Sun schools have faced each other in two seasons. Last year's Atlantic Sun meeting was cancelled due to weather conditions and not rescheduled.

"It is kind of weird that we haven't seen them for more than a year," Lady Bisons coach Kristin Peck said. "They had a coaching change at the semester break."

Mercer is last in the A-Sun with an 0-4 record, 7-35 overall. The Lady Bisons are third with a 7-4-1 mark, 22-18-1 overall.

"They are a veteran team," Peck said. "They have a lot of upperclassmen in their infield. They definitely pose a threat. We need to come out and attack them from the beginning."

Mercer's Jamie Madruga leads the conference in hitting with a .408 average. Madruga and Lipscomb's Abby Keese are part of a four-way tie for the conference's home run lead with 11.

"Madruga is a power-hitting lefty," Peck said.

Kennesaw State sits on top of the A-Sun with a 6-2 record, 32-14 overall. Kennesaw State is not eligible for the conference tournament this season.

The series has been designated as the A-Sun "Series of the Week". Offense could be the name of the game with the Lady Bisons leading the conference with a .313 batting average. Kennesaw State is third with a .281 mark.

"Kennesaw State is a very good team," Peck said. "They are very well-coached. They hit the ball well."

Kennesaw State's Keri McKee is second in the conference in hitting with a .401 average and Jennifer Nolan is sixth batting .359.

The Lady Bisons have three players in the top 10 in hitting. Keese is third with a .375 average. Lauren Dortwegt is fifth with a .372 average and Kellie Sirus is eight with at .353.

Pitching could also be a factor. Kennesaw State pitcher Brittany Matthews, 15-3, pitched a no-hitter last weekend against Stetson as part of a 2-0 weekend that also included two saves. Opponents are batting .173 against Matthews this season.

"This is a very big series with Kennesaw State," Peck said.

The Lady Bisons will be counting on Christen Campbell, 15-7, and Christy Grisham. Kim Jacobson is out for at least two weeks. Both are freshmen.

"It will be good for Grisham to pitch more," Peck said. "It will give her some good innings and give her a chance to relax. The only thing she has lacked this year is consistency. Hopefully, this will give her a chance to feel more comfortable on the mound and know she can do well for us. We have a lot of confidence in her.

"We will use Grisham and Campbell in a combination. We don't want to wear either one of them out. But we also want to win. There's a fine line there."

Peck has no plans to rush Jacobson to return to the mound. The emphasis is on having Jacobson ready for the conference tournament.

Campbell is second in the conference in innings pitched with 155 and in complete games with 17. She has started 21 games and made 26 appearances overall.

"We have talked with Christen and Christy and explained the situation to them, and what we are expecting of them down the stretch," Peck said. "We wanted to let them know we have confidence in them.

"This team is going to put up runs for them. But we have to keep people off base."