Ten of the 11 runs were driven in by home runs Wednesday at the Catamount Softball Complex in Cullowhee, N.C.
“We hit like what I feel like our team is capable of every time out,” Lady Bisons’ coach Kristin Ryman said. “Now are we going to have that many home runs in every game? No.
“It was just the quality of our at bats, especially in the second game. We were facing their top pitcher (Amber Steinhardt). To have an offensive explosion like that was really exciting.”
In the first game pitcher Whitney Kiihnl struck out 16 on the way to a 1-0 shutout, her fifth of the season.
In game two Billington slammed a two-run home run in the sixth followed by the grand slam in the seventh.
The Lady Bisons had a three-run third inning when Mollie Mitchell blasted a three-run home run.
They added three in the sixth off of Billington’s two-run homer and a solo shot by Bree Thurman over the right field fence.
Bridgette Begle drove in a run in the five-run seventh on a single.
Home runs were not the only big hits for the Lady Bisons.
Caroline Mason connected for a triple in the seventh.
Thurman, Mackenzie Tucker, Billington, Mason and Rena' Cothron each had two hits.
Ali Watson made her season debut as a pitcher. She gave up a run in the first inning and one in the sixth. She threw a complete game for the win scattering seven hits and striking out two.
“Ali came in and gave us exactly what we needed,” Ryman said. “The hits that she gave up were mostly ground balls. She gave up two or three hard hit balls including a home run. She didn’t allow a walk and she used her defense. That is what we need out of our No. 2 pitcher.
“I’m really proud of her. She hit her spots. She has been trying to make adjustments all season long. She has been working hard.”
A sacrifice fly by Thurman in the second inning produced the only run as the Lady Bisons beat Western Carolina 1-0 in game one.
Thurman’s sac fly to center brought in Cothron with what proved to be the winning run.
Kiihnl, 8-4, struck out 16 and gave up two hits on the way to the shutout, her fifth of the season.
The Lady Bisons had six hits in the game with Billington and Tucker each connecting for two.
“In the first game we were hitting the ball, but we were struggling to get the clutch hits and the clutch RBI,” Ryman said. “We left 10 runners on base in the first game.
“We were getting on base. We were trying to make things happen. We just couldn’t get anybody across.”
The Lady Bisons, 9-8, are on the way to Coastal Carolina for the Chanticleer Classic in Conway, S.C. Friday the Lady Bisons will play Kansas and Georgia Tech. Saturday they will face Georgia Tech again followed by Providence. They will close out the tournament Sunday with Coastal Carolina.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.