Kiihnl, 4-4 on the season, pitched only six innings due to the run-rule lead. She struck out a season-high 17 out of 19 batters she faced. She missed a perfect game because of an error.
“She looked unhittable,” Lady Bisons’ coach Kristin Ryman said. “She threw an outstanding game. She earned that one. She came out and really threw a great game.
“When she is like that she only needs one run of support. Ideally, you would like to give her three for a little cushion.”
She tied her season high for strikeouts set last season against Florida Gulf Coast on April 17.
Her career-high of 18 was set against Mercer in 2008, again on April 17.
“The 18 was against Mercer in extra innings,” Ryman said. “She struck out 17 in six innings. The one ground out they had was back to her so she made every out in the game which never happens.”
The Lady Bisons pounded out four runs in the first inning and six in the sixth to end the game early. They connected for 11 hits overall.
Only one Lady Bisons’ hitter failed to get at least one hit.
“As a group we offensively exploded,” Ryman said. “We felt like we were capable of this and it finally clicked.
“We took advantage of some errors they made. And we had some big hits that helped us jump on board early. We came out of the gate looking really good and comfortable in the box. We were attacking good pitches.”
Catcher Mollie Mitchell, first baseman Vanessa Medina and left fielder Mackenzie Tucker each had two hits.
Haley Elliott homered in the first inning, a two-run shot to left field. Medina also had a solo home run in the first to left.
In the sixth Medina hit her second home run of the game. Caroline Mason followed with another home run. The back-to-back homers were both hit to left center.
“I was really excited,” Ryman said. “I thought we were getting through the ball more consistently. I’m happy that the middle of our order is clicking right now. I hope it will carry over to Saturday.
“It all seemed to jell together. It was definitely the type of game we needed to really get that confidence boost and move forward through the rest of this tournament.”
The Lady Bisons are 4-6. Samford is 2-9.
Saturday at 3 the Lady Bisons will face Radford. At 8 they will play Indiana State.
The Lady Bisons close out the tournament Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.