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Sanders throws one-hitter in victory over No. 24 Upstate
#24 USC Upstate (35-3, 16-1 A-Sun)
at
Lipscomb (22-19, 9-7 A-Sun)
4/13/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 177
1234567RHE
USC Upstate0110020480
Lipscomb0000010171
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: ALEXANDER (15-2) 5.061112
Loss: PARKER (9-10) 7.084343
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
LANDERS (UPST) 323101
BELL (LIP) 302000

Saturday, April 13, 2013
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman looked at the box score and was surprised to see that Tanner Sanders had thrown a one-hitter.

Ryman didn’t think Sanders was not capable of such a feat. During the tenseness of the game she had not realized the effectiveness of her right-hander.

That was just one of many pleasant surprises that happened for LU Saturday afternoon at Draper Diamond in the nightcap of a doubleheader with USC Upstate. Sanders allowed only the one hit, a single with two outs in the sixth inning by Meredith Barnes, and walked only two batters in a 5-1 defeat of the Spartans.

“Tanner pitched a really good game,” Ryman said. “She had everything working. She is a very dominating type of pitcher when she does have everything working and is hitting her spots.

“At times, being a freshman, she has had to grow, develop and learn. This is something that I hope continues. If nothing else, it should give her the confidence to know that she can dominate good teams.”

Sanders, 13-7, struck out five as she faced a lineup that included seven batters hitting more than .300 for the season and two hitting above the .400 mark. As a team the Spartans entered the series with the Lady Bisons with a .358 average, the best in NCAA Division I.

“I am really proud of Tanner,” Ryman said. “She kept her head. She came out and stayed loose.

“When everything is working it is a lot easier to call a game. We made some nice plays behind her, too. We moved our feet well on defense in the second game.”

The victory for the Purple and Gold ended a 16-game Atlantic Sun Conference winning streak for No. 24 USC Upstate and also stopped a 14-game overall victory string. The Lady Bisons had added to those streaks in game one in a 4-1 loss.

The loss in game two was the first for Spartans pitcher Jamie Ujvari who had won 16 games this season. She left the game after allowing five runs on five hits in three innings. She struck out one and walked one. In game one she had picked up the save with two scoreless innings.

Anna Miller closed out game two for the Spartans with three hits and six strikeouts.

Again, surprises all around.

Game three of the series is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday. The Lady Bisons are 23-19, 10-7 in the A-Sun. USC Upstate is 35-4, 16-2 in the conference.

“Fighting back after a loss against a team that is as good as USC Upstate can be tough at times,” Ryman said. “But we treated it like a new game. I am very impressed and proud of our team.”

The Lady Bisons had ended game one with the potential tying run at the plate. But it was not to be.

However, the Lady Bisons finished game one with seven hits, including a solo home run by Paige Neely to lead off the sixth inning. Gracey Aguirre followed with her 12th double of the season.

Mickey Bell slammed the big hit for LU in game two with a three-run home run over the left field fence as part of a four-run first inning. Bell connected for two hits in game one.

“Mickey was the spark in the first inning,” Ryman said. “Paige got a key hit to drive in our first run and then Mickey hit the home run. When you get a big hit like that, especially against a team like USC Upstate, it is definitely a momentum changer.”

“We came out and had a different mentality in the first inning. We had just seen Jamie Ujvari in the first game. It was a confidence booster for us to have her start in game two. She had been undefeated for them. For us to come out and attack the ball in the first inning was huge.”

 Heather Montgomery slammed her third triple of the season. Neely finished with a game-high three-for-three effort and added an RBI as the Lady Bisons connected for eight hits in game two.

“Hitting is contagious for this team,” Ryman said. “If one or two of them are hitting well, especially early in a game, it spreads to the rest of them. In the second game we hit early and hit all the way through.”

Heather Parker pitched a complete game in the opener for LU. She fell to 9-10 after giving up eight hits and four runs, three of them earned. One was on a home run by the Spartans Dana Landers. She walked four and struck out three.

LU assistant coach Mollie Mitchell may have had the best analysis during a team talk between the first and second games.

“Mollie said, `if nothing else we knew we could hit their pitching after the first game’,” Ryman said. “We knew we were going to be all right.”