Thursday, April 05, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb softball returns home this weekend to host Florida Gulf Coast (April 6) and Stetson (April 7) in the Atlantic Sun home opener. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 4 p.m. (CT), while first pitch for Saturday is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Friday’s doubleheader against Florida Gulf Coast will be softball’s “Think Pink” night for breast cancer awareness; the Lady Bison will be wearing pink jerseys and pink wristbands will be given away at the concession stand. There will be a free raffle to win Sweet CeCe’s yogurt for five people, as well as a raffle for pink Lipscomb softball t-shirts.
Five Lady Bison are hitting above .300 in the last 10 games, giving the squad a healthy overall average of .262. The pitching of Whitney Kiihnl has dominant – the senior is 4-2 with a 0.50 ERA and 36 strike outs over that time.
Last Time Against This Weekend’s Opponents
Florida Gulf Coast swept the Lady Bison in Ft. Myers last season, winning the opener 14-0 and game two 5-1. Lipscomb split the games at Stetson, dropping game one 6-1 but rebounding for a 4-1 victory in game two. The three-game losing streak was the first for Lipscomb in conference play since the 2007 season.
Lipscomb Splits Pair of Doubleheaders in Florida
Kiihnl lost 1-0 heartbreakers to open each doubleheader at North Florida and Jacksonville, but redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson picked up wins in the second game of both days and Kiihnl added saves in the opening Atlantic Sun weekend. Lipscomb hit five home runs on the weekend, two coming from senior Caroline Mason.
- Florida Gulf Coast – Pitching and speed power the Eagle attack. Lead-off hitter Jessica Barnes leads the team with 21 steals and a .302 average, while Shelby Morgan (13-5, 1.70 ERA) is the ace of a staff giving up less than two earned runs per game.
- Stetson – Hits will be at a premium against the Hatters; Stetson is second in the conference in ERA (1.94) and opposing batting average (.224). Meredith Owen (9-7, 1.92 ERA) and Courtney Brandt (8-5, 1.99 ERA) form an effective combination on the mound for Stetson.
- Florida Gulf Coast – 3-0; defeated LIU-Brooklyn (7-1, Feb. 11) and Eastern Michigan twice (Feb. 24, 5-1; Feb. 26, 1-0)
- Stetson – 1-2; lost to Ball State (4-1, March 9) and split a March 26 doubleheader against North Florida (lost 1-0, won 7-0).
Lipscomb By the Numbers
Kiihnl and junior Kelsey Cartwright continue to rank high nationally in a myriad of categories. Kiihnl ranks in the top-50 in wins (17, seventh) and saves (two, 41st), while also posting high ranks in shutouts (six, 19th), strikeouts (147, 22nd) and ERA (41st). Cartwright is 19th in the nation in home runs with 11, and slugs at an .802 clip, good for 29th nationally. Per game, she’s high in home runs (0.34/g, 23rd) and RBI (0.88/g, 88th). While she didn’t get an opportunity this weekend, sophomore Rena’ Cothron holds strong in the top-five nationally in sacrifice hits, moving to third at 0.47/g. At nearly a home run per game, the Lady Bison are one of the top power squads in the nation, ranking 29th at 0.94/g. The team’s ERA (2.19, 44th) and win percentage (.688, 45th) afford them similar rankings.
Fact of the Weekend
Lipscomb has not lost more than two games at Draper Diamond since the 2009 season. The March 19 loss to Marshall was the first home loss this season with 10 home dates remaining.
Lipscomb Receiving Votes in Mid-Major Poll
Lipscomb fell out of the mid-major this week, but the Lady Bison are still threatening with six votes; IPFW, whom Lipscomb swept earlier this year, is 24th with eight votes. A-Sun foe USC Upstate is 10th (44 votes), while UAB is 18th with 20 votes; the Lady Bison are still looking to reschedule the March 15 doubleheader that was postponed.
Lipscomb hosts Austin Peay in a midweek home doubleheader Tuesday, Wednesday April 10 before traveling down the Boulevard for a doubleheader with Belmont Saturday, April 14.
Check back on Lipscombsports.com for more information on the Lady Bisons softball team, and be sure to like us on Facebook (Lipscomb Softball) and follow us on Twitter (@LU_Softball).