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Lady Bisons will count on pitching against Stetson
Kellie Sirus
Kellie Sirus

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Lady Bisons lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in hitting with a .321 average and pitching with a 1.37 earned run average.

But as the Lady Bisons (33-9, 10-2 in the conference) head into this weekend they are anything but overconfident about facing Stetson (24-17, 6-4 in the A-Sun) Friday and Florida Gulf Coast (20-26, 8-6) Saturday. The first game begins at 3 Friday at Draper Diamond. Saturday’s first pitch is at 2.

“It will definitely be another tough weekend for us,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “Stetson is playing well right now. They pitch as well as anybody in the conference.”

Amanda Lindsey, a senior right-hander, is third in the conference in earned run average with a .95. She is 17-9 overall with six shutouts.

“Amanda Lindsey is having an outstanding year,” Ryman said. “We are very familiar with her.

“She is going to present a lot of challenges. She mixes her pitches extremely well and tries to keep batters off balance. She keeps Stetson in ball games. She has done as a good a job as anybody in the conference in doing that.”

The Lady Bisons pitching staff is led by sophomore right-hander Whitney Kiihnl. She is first in NCAA Division I with a 0.66 earned run average and is also first in hits allowed per seven innings with 2.16. She is seventh in shutouts with nine.

She leads the A-Sun in opposing batting average with a .095. She is fourth in strikeouts with 219. She is 22-2 overall.

“Our pitching staff has done an extremely good job of limiting base runners,” Ryman said. “And when we do get base runners on we have done a good job of working out of jams and relying on our defense.

“I really think we are going to be expecting a lot out of our pitchers. We will want them to limit the walks, the batters they hit with pitches and the wild pitches. Those are things that are always in our control.”

Stetson is batting .259 as a team. Four of their regular players are batting more than .300. Chelsey Trotto leads the way with a .330 average.

“They are putting a lot of runs on the board,” Ryman said. “They are aggressive when they get on the bases. They force the issue when they get runners on base. We are going to be challenged from top-to-bottom.

“Our pitchers will have to be mentally tough. Stetson is going to get some runners on here and there. Defensively, we will have to stay composed. In the few games where we have struggled there are moments where we have lost our composure.”

The Lady Bisons have four players in the top 10 in batting in the A-Sun. Abby Keese leads the conference with a .383 average. Kiihnl is second with a .379 average. Courtney Billington is seventh with .344 average. Kellie Sirus is tied for ninth with a .342 average.

Sirus is also first in slugging percentage with a .702. Keese is second at .688. Billington is eighth at .550.

Sirus is fourth with a .454 on base percentage. Keese is fifth at .445.

Sirus also leads the conference in runs scored with 38. Billington and Lauren Dortwegt are tied for fourth with 31.

Keese is fifth in hits with 49. Dortwegt is sixth with 47. Billington is tied for seventh with 45.

Sirus is second in runs batted in with 32. Christen Campbell and Keese are tied for fourth with 29 each.

Sirus has especially been strong at the plate in the past couple of weeks.

“Kellie is really starting to look more comfortable in the box now than she did a couple of weeks ago,” Ryman said. “That is good to see.

“She is such a model of consistency in the middle of our order. When you get her and Abby Keese going at the same time it can wreak havoc. It is pretty good timing that Kellie is swinging the bat well as we get into the next couple of weeks.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.