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USC Upstate (39-13)
5/10/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 222
Thursday, May 10, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Don't let the bright yellow ribbon, painted fingernails and glistening round earrings fool you.
When 6-foot-2 left-hander Ashley Anderson steps into the pitcher's circle for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons she means business. Thursday afternoon at Cyrill Stadium Anderson went the distance as the Lady Bisons beat host USC Upstate 8-3 in the loser's bracket in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
Upstate, the No. 3-seed, was eliminated from the tournament. The Lady Bisons will play Kennesaw State at 2 p.m. CDT Friday. The Lady Bisons will play again at 4:30 if they win.
Anderson, a redshirt freshman, was making her first A-Sun appearance. If the Lady Bisons had lost the game they would have been eliminated, but Anderson was relaxed in preparing for the game.
"I just thought of it as another ball game," Anderson said. "I just started to throw and tried not to think much about it.
"I can't change anything right now. I just have to go out and do it. I was surprised I went all seven innings, but I felt good so I am glad that I did."
It was a typical game for Anderson, who raised her record to 13-6. She scattered seven hits and gave up three runs, only one earned. She walked two and struck out one.
"I'm not a strikeout pitcher," Anderson said. "The defense has done an awesome job for me. Everybody knows that I am a drop ball, in-the-dirt kind of pitcher. The infielders, especially Bridgette (Begle) and Kelsey (Cartwright) do a great job with the tweeners."
The only extra base hits she allowed were a double to right center by Katelyn Molkenthin and a solo home run to left field on the first pitch of the seventh inning to Shellie Robinson for her 17th homer of the year.
"Ashley came out with a ton of composure and threw a great game," Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. "She did not pitch like a freshman who was pitching for the first time in the conference tournament.
"She couldn't have given us any more of an effort out there. I am really proud of her."
Anderson held Upstate scoreless for four innings. She gave up two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh.
"Upstate is easily one of the best hitting teams in the conference, if not the best," Ryman said. "They just it well top to bottom.
"We had just seen them a week ago. It was important for us to keep mixing it up and not give them a lot of the same looks where they could get into a rhythm."
Hannah Alexander, 26-7, took the loss for Upstate. She gave up seven hits and seven runs, all earned. She walked two and struck out one. Casee Clauser threw the final two innings, giving up two hits and one run, unearned. She also struck out one.
Whitney Kiihnl, playing left field for the first time in her Lipscomb career, went three-for-three including an RBI-triple to center field in the fourth.
Lipscomb catcher Mollie Mitchell continued her hot hitting streak in the tournament with a three-run homer to center. Kelsey Cartwright blasted her 16th home run of the season, a solo shot to center field to lead off the fifth.
"Mollie is feeling good right now," Ryman said. "She is very determined to be the best leader she can be and to really do her part. We can't ask more from one of our seniors and one of our captains."
First baseman Haley Elliott drove in three runs to tie Mitchell for the game high in that category. She drove in three runs with two hits.
Elliott has been batting fifth most of the season, but has adjusted to the fourth spot in the tournament. In Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Jacksonville she hit a solo home run.
"You always want to have good hits, but when you are in the fourth spot you are kind of expected to have good hits," Elliott said. "I have tried to have a better pitch selection.
"Confidence is a big part of hitting. Whenever you have confidence it is contagious. This game just proved it. We all hit the ball well."
The Lady Bisons are 35-19. Upstate finished the season with a 39-13 record.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.