The Lady Bisons’ Classic gets underway at Draper Diamond on the Lipscomb campus. At noon Friday the Lady Bisons (5-8) face Butler (1-3).
“We are looking for consistency, especially at the plate,” Lady Bisons’ coach Kristin Ryman said. “Our freshmen are all very talented. We have seen in spurts what they are capable of doing.”
The final game on Friday will feature Appalachian State (5-9) against Butler at 2:15..
Saturday at 12:15 Butler will play Eastern Illinois (4-4). At 2:30 the Lady Bisons will face Appalachian State followed by Eastern Illinois at 4:45.
Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern Illinois and Appalachian State will meet. The No.1 seed and the No. 2 will play at 1:15 and the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will close out the tournament at 3:30.
The schedule is subject to change due to the possibility of severe weather problems, especially on Saturday.
“I think our players are looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd,” Ryman said. “That is always something special. “We have been away for awhile. This will especially be something good for the new players.”
Ryman has assembled a competitive field for the tournament with Eastern Illinois from the Ohio Valley Conference, Butler from the Horizon League and Appalachian State from the Southern Conference.
“Eastern Illinois has always competed well and is off to a decent start,” Ryman said. “They are very similar to many of the teams we have already faced this season. They are going to be a challenge.
“Butler is expected to finish in the top two or three in the Horizon League. Butler is an up and coming team that has been climbing steadily up the ladder the past few seasons.”
The Lady Bisons have already faced Appalachian State this season, losing 4-0 in the Panther Invitational hosted by Georgia State Feb. 19. Hannah Dow went the distance for Appalachian State. J.J. Nelson threw a complete game for the Lady Bisons.
“Appalachian State has a mix of power and speed,” Ryman said. “They like to put pressure on the defense with runners on base. They are very athletic and they find a way to make plays.
“They have a lot of different pitchers. I think in the four games at the Georgia State tournament they started four different ones.”
Lady Bisons pitcher Whitney Kiihnl, 5-4, is second in the Atlantic Sun Conference with an 0.90 earned run average. In 62.1 innings she has struck out 90 batters, ranking third in the conference in that category.
Outfielder Breanna Thurman leads the Lady Bisons at the plate with a .281 average. First baseman Vanessa Medina is first on the team in slugging percentage (.541), hits (10) and home runs (3).
Catcher-third baseman Mollie Mitchell is the team leader in runs batted in with 10. Mitchell is tied with outfielder Caroline Mason in doubles with three.
All games will be available through live stats. The Lady Bisons games will also be available on A-Sun TV.
We expect to be challenged,” Ryman said. “It will be a good test for us, especially four out younger players, to see how far we have progressed the last few weeks.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.