MACON, Ga. – Lipscomb senior pitcher Whitney Kiihnl has been named the Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 12, the league office announced Monday.
Kiihnl earned her 1,000th career strikeout in the finale of the Lady Bison Classic against MTSU, Sunday. The Batesville, Miss. native became just the third pitcher in Atlantic Sun history to eclipse that mark, joining Florida Atlantic’s Nicole Myers (1,376) and USC Upstate’s Morgan Childers (1,338).
“This is a huge accomplishment for her,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “It’s not the first and it won’t be the last. She’s been a difference-maker for our program, not just this year but the last four years.”
Kiihnl was stellar on the mound all week for Lipscomb, picking up four wins against IPFW, Drake, Eastern Michigan and MTSU. She’s won five straight decisions and leads the Atlantic Sun in wins (13), batters struck out looking (35) and starts (15), and is second in strikeouts with an even 100.
"I'm honestly a little surprised at the honor," Kiihnl said. "I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, because our bats got hot this week. Ashley (Anderson) threw great this week too; if anyone deserved to be pitcher of the week it would be her."
She started her week in the first game of a Wednesday doubleheader against IPFW, scattering three hits in a five-inning run-rule shutout of the Mastodons. She struck out eight, a season-high in appearances shorter than a complete game.
In the opener of the Lady Bison Classic, Kiihnl struck out a season-high tying 11 batters, scattered five hits and allowed just one earned run to defeat Drake.
Kiihnl picked up a run-rule win against Eastern Michigan, Saturday, before her milestone day on Sunday. Entering Sunday’s game against MTSU needing three strikeouts for 1,000 she struck out the side in the first inning to hit the benchmark.
“She’s such a workhorse for us,” Ryman said. “She’s taken a lot of little things we worked on with her this fall and they’ve helped her improve. It’s hard to find things for a player like her to improve on, but she’s responded to it.
“She makes an impact on this team every day, on and off the field. Her leadership this year has been tremendous.”
Kiihnl helped her cause at the plate, hitting .600 (6-for-10) with a triple, four RBI and two runs scored. Against Eastern Michigan, she went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in, including the game-winning RBI.
This is Kiihnl’s second weekly award of 2012 and eleventh overall. She earned the Feb. 26 award after picking up four wins at the College of Charleston Classic, three of which came via shutout.
Kiihnl and the rest of the Lady Bison will be back at Draper Diamond Thursday for a home doubleheader against UAB beginning at 3 p.m.
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