Sunday, April 12, 2009Lipscomb’s doubleheader today against USC-Upstate was more than just two games in the 2009 season. Of course it counts for the Atlantic Sun standings and of course it’s important for each team to try to better their record. But today’s games were a rematch.
Last season, both Lipscomb and Upstate tied with Florida Gulf Coast for the season champion title, with conference records of 16-6.
The Lady Bisons split with the Spartans last season in Nashville, losing the first game 8-7 but coming back to win 3-0 in the second.
But Sunday was a different day.
“Last year was a draw in all regards,” said softball coach Kristin Peck. “We wanted to come in to their field today and prove a point.”
The Lady Bisons did just that.
Game one started off as a pitcher’s duel as Lipscomb’s Whitney Kiihnl went up against Upstate’s Morgan Childer’s, who was voted both A-Sun Pitcher of the year and Freshman of the Year last season.
Upstate struck first as they strung together two hits and a sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning, scoring their one and only run of the day.
As Kiihnl’s pitching got stronger, her offense prevailed.
A home run over the left field fence in the 5th inning by Caroline Mason would just be the start for the Lady Bisons. Three consecutive singles by Lauren Dortwegt, Courtney Billington, and Kellie Sirus would produce one run and runners on first and third. After Abby Keese walked to load the bases, Christen Campbell reached on a fielder’s choice to the short stop, who made a throwing error allowing two more runs to score, making the score 4-1 in favor of the Bisons.
With one out in the 6th inning, Mackenzie Tucker walked and Dortwegt reached on a bunt single. After a Billington single to load the bases, Sirus flew out to right, bringing Keese to the plate with two outs. Keese then singled to left, scoring Tucker and Dortwegt, giving Lipscomb a 6-1 cushion.
The Lady Bisons had no mercy as they continued to push more runs across the plate in the 7th inning. Mollie Mitchell led off the inning with a double off the left field wall. Megan Rottler lined out to third. Mason then hit a double down the left field line, scoring Mitchell. Tucker followed with a single to center, advancing Mason to third. After Tucker stole second, Dortwegt flew out to left, bringing Billington up with two outs. Billington hit a single to center field, bringing Mason and Tucker home.
Lipscomb would continue to hold the Spartans through the 7th inning and win game one with a score of 9-1.
Kiihnl (13-5) scattered three hits and one unearned run over seven innings, keeping her ERA at 1.12. She struck out eight and walked one.
The Lady Bisons totaled 14 hits off the reigning Pitcher of the Year.
Determined for a sweep, the Lady Bisons would not back down in game two.
Scoring came sooner, as Dortwegt reached on a single in the 3rd. Billington then reached on a bunt single as Dortwegt took advantage of an overthrow and scored Lipscomb’s first run of the game. After Sirus drew a walk, Kesse singled to left field, scoring Billington.
Leading 2-0, the Lady Bisons would continue to hold strong defensively and struck again with their bats in the 5th inning. With two outs, Campbell singled on a line drive to the third baseman. After Mitchell was hit by a pitch, Mason singled to center, bringing Campbell in to make the score to 3-0.
Three runs were all the Lady Bisons would need, as pitcher Alaina Jacobson would hold the Spartans to four hits over seven innings, striking out three and walking one.
It was the 15th shutout for Lipscomb this season, Jacobson’s 4th, bringing her record to 8-2 and ERA to 2.42.
The Bisons had 10 hits in game two, totaling 24 on the day.
“Our whole goal today was to come in, make a statement and walk out with two wins,” said Peck. “We know Upstate is an extremely competitive team and it’s always a great match up when we play them. To win the way we did and do it pretty convincingly says a lot for our program. This weekend was huge for us.”
The sweep brings the Lady Bisons to 29-8, 8-2 in the A-Sun.
Upstate dropped to 24-12, 7-7 in the conference.
The Lady Bisons have a break from conference play Tuesday as they host a doubleheader with TSU starting at 2 p.m. They resume A-Sun play Friday at home against Mercer.
This story was written by Katie Haab, a student assistant in the athletics media relations department.
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