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Friday, March 27, 2009The Lipscomb Lady Bisons opened the Atlantic Sun portion of their schedule in a big way by sweeping North Florida in a doubleheader Friday afternoon at Draper Diamond.
The Lady Bisons, the defending A-Sun regular season champions, won the first game 1-0 and then closed out the nightcap with a 2-0 score. The Lady Bisons have shutouts in nine of their last 17 games and have 12 shutouts for the season.
The Lady Bisons evened their overall record against North Florida to 4-4.
“They were two big games,” said Lady Bisons coach Kristin Peck. “We had not swept North Florida since they came into the league. We had split with them twice and they had swept us once.
“It’s a big way for us to start conference play. North Florida competes with everybody in our league. They have had some big wins over some great teams like Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast.”
Freshman right-hander Whitney Kiihnl started in game one against left-hander Devyn Findley, the top pitcher for North Florida.
“Findley is one of the top pitchers in the league,” said Peck. “We started putting some balls in play, but we never got anything really big going against her.”
The Lady Bisons scored the only run of the game in the fifth inning. Mollie Mitchell was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Megan Rottler moved Mitchell to second with a sacrifice bunt. Lauren Dortwegt singled to the shortstop to load the bases. Courtney Billington also singled to the shortstop to score Mitchell.
Kiihnl, 9-2, allowed four hits in seven innings. She walked two and struck out six. The Lady Bisons had only five hits in game one with Abby Keese and Christen Campbell each hitting a double. She has five shutouts this season.
In game two Campbell, a junior right-hander, started on the mound. She gave up only three hits while walking two and striking out one in seven innings. Campbell raised her record to 5-0. She entered the game with a .76 earned run average.
“Christen started off really strong this season and then we had some rain outs here and there,” said Peck. “It seemed like she had not pitched for awhile. She came back strong last week and she is pitching really well.
“I felt like both Whitney and Christen stayed pretty poised on the mound. When they got some runners on they kept their composure. It is great to see that out of your pitchers.”
The Lady Bisons managed only five hits in the second game. Dortwegt had two, including a triple. She extended her team-leading current hitting streak to seven games.
Campbell gave herself an early advantage. With one out in the first inning, Billington tripled. Kellie Sirus struck out and Abby Keese walked. Campbell doubled to left center to bring home both Billington and Keese with the only runs the Lady Bisons would need.
One of the few frustrating aspects of the day for Peck was the fact that the Lady Bisons stranded 12 runners.
“We didn’t hit exceptionally well, but we will take it,” said Peck. “We know our conference games are a situation where anybody can beat anybody.
“We have to show up and execute and do the little things. There are few little things that we didn’t do that could have come back and bit us. But we had some big plays and some big time pitches.”
The Lady Bisons are 21-6, 2-0 in the A-Sun. North Florida is 17-19, 4-4 in the conference.
If the weather permits the Lady Bisons will face Jacksonville Saturday in an Atlantic Sun doubleheader at 2 p.m.