The Lady Bisons, 29-7 overall, 8-0 in the Atlantic Sun Conference, are ranked 25th in the Ultimate College Softball Top 25.
They received seven votes in both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25.
“We are playing really well right now, but we have two of our toughest weekends ahead of us,” coach Kristin Ryman said. “I’m glad we are still getting some interest. In the event that something happens and we don’t win the tournament this year we want to put ourselves in a position for an at-large bid.”
The Lady Bisons are home Wednesday at Draper Diamond to face Tennessee State University, 9-20, in a doubleheader starting at 4. The Lady Bisons have won their last nine games. Tennessee State has lost is last three.
The Lady Bisons open the week rated third nationally in NCAA Division I with a 1.29 earned run average. They are 17th with a .807 won-loss percentage, 18th in batting with a .322 average and 19th in fielding percentage (.972).
Individually, sophomore pitcher Whitney Kiihnl is first in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings (2.04). She is second in earned run average (.64) and fifth in shutouts with 9. She is eighth in wins (19) and 12th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.8). She is 13th in strikeouts overall with 201.
Sophomore shortstop Courtney Billington is 17th in sacrifice hits per game with .28.
In the Atlantic Sun Conference senior second baseman Abby Keese leads in batting average (.400). She also leads overall in total bases with 73.
“Abby has the capability every game to get on base for us at least once a game,” Ryman said. “She has the long ball capability. She is hitting for average right now.
“Any time you can have a player in the middle of the lineup hit for both power and average they become a double threat. They become that more important to the lineup. And Abby is doing that for us.”
Keese has hit above .300 each season, but a goal in her final year is to hit with more consistency while maintaining her power numbers. She has seven home runs, which ties her for third in the conference overall.
“She doesn’t want to solely rely on her power numbers,” Ryman said. “She wants to be a consistent hitter day-in and day-out.
“Our lineup is so diverse right now. We have girls in the middle of the lineup who can bunt for a hit. We’ve got that throughout our lineup. It makes it tough for us to decide what to do. Do we bunt to move a runner over to get them in scoring position or do we take the chance on getting the big hit. The decisions I make change from game-to-game based on how we are swinging the bat or on certain situations within the game.”
Senior first baseman Kellie Sirus leads in slugging percentage with a .688. Sirus is also first in runs scored with 33. She is also tied for third in home runs in the conference with seven.
Billington is tied for first in doubles with 12.
Wrtten by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.