After winning game one of the tournament 6-0 against No. 5 seed ETSU earlier in the day, the Lady Bisons, the No. 2 seed, fell 2-0 in the second game to No. 3 seeded Mercer Thursday night at Patricia Wilson Field here on the Stetson campus.
The Lady Bisons will play Stetson, 23-30, the tournament host and No. 6 seed, Friday at 2:30 p.m.
“It was a frustrating loss for sure,” said Lady Bisons coach Kristin Peck. “I think we were on our heels a little bit offensively for some reason in this game. We had two tight games with Mercer this season. We knew going into it that it was going to be that way again.
“We have to get our attack mentality back. Some people had it and some people didn't in the game. And that affected us. They had a few breaks fall their way and we missed a couple of opportunities.”
Peck chose to return freshman right-hander Whitney Kiihnl to the mound for the second game. Kiihnl, 17-9, held ETSU to two hits in the first game. She came back strong in game two, allowing only three hits. She walked three batters and struck out six.
Kiihnl kept Mercer hitless until the top of the fifth inning. Casey Neilson lined a shot to left field that brought in Anna Johnson from third base. Johnson was a pinch runner for Emi Sherrill who walked to open the inning.
Amanda Santa Maria drove in Jena Ellis, who reached base on a single to Kiihnl, with a sacrifice fly to center.
Mercer left-hander Lacey Richardson held the Lady Bisons to one hit, a single by center fielder Lauren Dortwegt. Richardson struck out one batter and walked four.
“She mixes her pitches well and keeps you guessing,” said Peck. “We didn't take care of a couple of little things on our end. We knew it was going to be a pitchers' duel and it was.
When the other team makes four errors you have to turn that into something. We really didn't take advantage of that.”
The Lady Bisons are 38-13. Mercer, 39-17, remains in the winner's bracket.
“Friday is another day,” said Peck. “It is still a plus for our program. We can't let one loss in a tight game affect us. We have to forget and let that one drift away and focus on a new opponent.”