NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb softball hosts UAB Thursday afternoon at Draper Diamond in the first of two midweek non-conference doubleheaders against Conference USA schools. The first game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
The Lady Bison are rolling, entering Thursday’s doubleheader as winners of seven straight. Lipscomb has yet to drop a home game this season after winning six home contests last week, including a 4-0 sweep through the competition at the Lady Bison Classic over the weekend.
During Sunday’s game against Alabama State, senior Whitney Kiihnl earned her 1,000th career strikeout, becoming the third Atlantic Sun pitcher in league history to accomplish that feat. Behind that milestone and four victories last week, Kiihnl earned her second A-Sun Pitcher of the Week award of the season, and the 11th of her career.
Redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson is starting to emerge from Kiihnl’s shadow. She hasn’t allowed an earned run in 17 innings, picking up her first career shutout victory Sunday against Alabama State and picking up the save later that day against MTSU.
Last Time Against UAB
Lipscomb last faced UAB in 2010, and took three of four from the Blazers. On April 20, the Lady Bison split a doubleheader at Draper Diamond, winning the opening pitcher’s duel 1-0 and losing the 7-5 slugfest. At the NCAA Regional in Tuscaloosa, the Lady Bison defeated UAB twice (4-1 and 7-6) to advance to the Region final against top-ranked Alabama.
Big Hitting, Power Pitching Pace Lady Bison
Kiihnl hit .600 and struck out her 1,000th career batter over the course of Lipscomb’s 4-0 showing at the Lady Bison Classic. Kiihnl struck out a season-high tying 11 against Drake before reaching the milestone against MTSU. Kelsey Cartwright hit .444 with three homers, including a grand slam and a solo shot against Alabama State.
Lipscomb By the Numbers
The first NCAA stat rankings were released Monday and Lipscomb ranks high in several categories. Kiihnl is second in the nation in wins (13) and third in shutouts (six), while also earning top-100 standing in strikeouts (20th, 100), strikeouts per seven innings (92nd, 7.2) and ERA (97th, 2.03). Cartwright ranks in the top-100 in home runs (25th, seven), slugging (34th, .833) and runs per game (93rd, 0.9). Lipscomb as a team posted top-100 marks in home runs per game (36th, 0.9), W/L percentage (41st, .714), slugging (59th, .439), ERA (2.63, 78th), scoring (83rd, 4.95) and steals per game (86th, 1.24).
Sophomore hurler Leigh Streetman, a C-USA All-Freshman team selection last year, has a respectable 3-3 record and 3.21 ERA so far in 2012, but may have been usurped on the mound by classmate Lannah Campbell, a little-used utility player last year. She enters Thursday sporting a 5-3 record and 1.52 ERA.
Catcher Mandy Lowman, a two-time All-CUSA selection, has been on a roll this year. The senior is hitting .451 with five home runs and 15 RBI, while sophomore Kristen McGrath has five homers herself to go with 13 RBI. Senior Catherine Crawford is helping out at the plate as well, with her .327 average including four doubles and four triples.
UAB has faced top-ranked Alabama and Jacksonville State, two teams the Lady Bison saw at the early-season Mardi Gras Tournament. The Blazers fell twice to Alabama, 8-1 on Feb. 21 and again at the Alabama Invite, March 4, in a 4-1 defeat. UAB lost to Jacksonville State, 6-5, March 6 in a home single-game match-up. The Blazers swept A-Sun foe Kennesaw State in a Feb. 28 doubleheader.
Anderson, Kiihnl Shine Against IPFW
Strong pitching performances by Kiihnl and Ashley Anderson gave the Lady Bison a midweek sweep of IPFW at Draper Diamond. Kiihnl scattered three hits and struck out eight in the opener, an 8-0 run-rule victory highlighted by home runs from Haley Elliott and Bridgette Begle. Anderson struck out nine in the second game, making a two-run home run by Kelsey Cartwright stand up for the victory. The win is the first of Anderson’s Lady Bison career.
Fact of the Week
In the last three years, UAB is 8-4 against Atlantic Sun opponents. Three of those losses were to Lipscomb, with the other coming at Kennesaw State last season.
The Lady Bison host Marshall at Draper Diamond Monday, March 19 in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Lipscomb will travel to San Luis Obispo, Calif. for the Mustang Classic, next weekend.