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Lady Bisons soar past Ospreys, sweep doubleheader
Caroline Mason
Caroline Mason

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Lipscomb softball team continued its winning ways on Saturday, sweeping North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference double-header action at Draper Diamond in Nashville.

The Lady Bisons defeated the Ospreys 8-0 in five innings in game two after taking game one 7-0.

The Lady Bisons (22-14 overall, 9-1 A-Sun) wrapped up the weekend with four shutout victories to move into sole possession of first-place in the conference standings.

In four games this weekend, Lipscomb outscored its opponents 23-0 and hit seven home runs en route to a perfect 4-0 record.

“There was a lot of hype coming into this weekend with Jacksonville and North Florida coming to town and we answered the call,” head coach Kristin Ryman said. “

"We lost some close games early in the year to some good teams and I think those experiences and situations are starting to pay off.”

The Lady Bisons pitching was even more dominant this weekend as the duo of Whitney Kiihnl and Ali Watson held Jacksonville and North Florida to .183 batting average while striking out 32 in 26 scoreless innings. Kiihnl (16-7) went 2-0 with 25 strikeouts in 16 scoreless innings while Watson (4-2) was 2-0 while holding opponents to a .171 average.

“Whit and Ali gave us great outings both games,” Ryman said. “Ali just continues to get better and better and Whitney once again gave us a great chance to win both games.”

“We have a great group of girls on this team and they are a lot of fun to coach,” Ryman said. “We have great chemistry on this team and the freshmen follow the leadership of the upperclassmen.”

Game One: Lipscomb 7, North Florida 0

Whitney Kiihnl posted her second straight double digit strikeout game and the Lady Bisons took advantage of eight North Florida walks to cruise to a 7-0 victory in game one.

Lipscomb wasted little time to take an early lead in game one as Caroline Mason launched what was her first of two home runs on the day with a one-out two-run bomb in the bottom of the first. Mason’s two-run shot scored Breanna Thurman who led-off the inning with a walk.

Two innings later, Mason extended Lipscomb’s lead to three runs with a one-out solo home run over the left-field wall.

The home run was Mason’s third round-tripper of the weekend and brought her team-leading total to eight.

“Caroline has always had power, it was just a matter of could she show it on a consistent basis,” Ryman said. “She does a good job of working the count and shows a lot of composure when she is in the box.”

The Lady Bisons took advantage of two walks and a passed ball following a strikeout in the fifth-inning as Kristen Sturdivant drew a bases loaded walk to score Mason from third.

Leading 4-0, Lipscomb tacked on three more runs in the sixth, as Mollie Mitchell connected on her eighth home run of the season, this time a three-run shot to left. Kiihnl led-off the inning with a walk and then advanced to third on Thurman’s double before Mitchell drove both of them in with the homer.

Kiihnl retired the Osprey’s in order in the seventh to earn her 16th victory of the year. The Lipscomb ace, surrendered four hits and no walks with 11 strikeouts in seven-shutout innings to improve to 6-0 in the Atlantic Sun.

Lipscomb scored seven runs on just six hits in game one as six of the runs came courtesy of home runs.

Mason went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, two home runs and 3 runs scored to lead the Lady Bisons.

In 10 conference games, Mason is hitting .484 in conference with seven of her eight home runs and 15 RBI.

Game Two: Lipscomb 8, North Florida 0

Good teams find a way to take advantage of their opponent’s mistakes and the Lady Bisons did just that in the game two, capitalizing on four errors and six free passes en route to a 8-0 win in five innings in the nightcap.

Similar to game one, the Lady Bisons wasted little time in jumping out to an early lead as Lipscomb scored three runs in the first and two in the second to jump out to an early 5-0 lead after just two innings and that was more than enough for Bison pitcher Ali Watson.

Lipscomb sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring two of three runs in the inning on Haley Elliott’s two-out two-run single.

With a 3-0 lead, the Lady Bisons added to its lead in the second, scoring one run on passed ball and another on a walk. Mackenzie Tucker and Thurman led-off the inning with back-to-back singles and then advanced a base on Mitchell’s one-out walk. Tucker scored on a passed ball before Elliott drew a bases-loaded walk to earn her third RBI of the game, and giving Lipscomb a five-run lead.

Leading 5-0, the Lady Bisons put the game away in the fifth inning scoring three runs on three hits while taking advantage of three Osprey errors in the inning. Renà Cothron’s one-out RBI single to left scored Billington from third who reached base earlier in the inning on an error by the shortstop.

Vanessa Medina continued the offensive outburst in the fifth with a pinch-hit double to center before later scoring on Tucker’s perfectly executed RBI-bunt to make it 7-0.  After UNF elected to bring back the original starting pitcher (Cortney Radke), Shelby Cunnigham hit a slow roler to second base causing the Osprey fielder to bobble the ball, thus allowing Tucker to score the eighth-run of the game and ending the game due to the run rule.

Watson (4-2) scattered four hits and struckout three in five shutout innings to earn the win in game two.

The Lady Bisons are off during the midweek this week before traveling southeast to the Sunshine state to play Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson in A-Sun action next weekend.

Prior to the opening pitch of game one, Lipscomb Director of Athletics Philip Hutcheson led a prayer for Lipscomb Media Relations Director/Senior Publisher Mark McGee and his family. Mark has been hospitalized this week due to chest pains and heart conditions.