HOUTSON, Texas - Tanner Sanders made an impressive debut for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons as she struck out seven batters on the way to a 4-0 shutout of Iowa from the Big 10.
Sanders, a right-hander, allowed only two hits. She walked two and hit one batter as the Lady Bisons opened the 2013 regular season Friday morning in Texas at the Houston Hilton Classic at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
She struck out the last two batters she faced.
“Tanner came out and threw really well,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “She was hitting her spots and moving the ball around.
“She didn’t really have a letdown. Sometimes, with freshmen, you have to stay on them to make sure they are keeping a good mentality the whole game. We really didn’t have to do that with Tanner. She took control of the game early on and was as strong at the finish as she was at the start.”
The Lady Bisons broke the scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. With one out Rena’ Cothron walked. Heather Montgomery grounded out to the pitcher to move Cothron to second. Brittany Elmore singled to left field to score Cothron. Paige Neely singled and Elmore was safe at second. Kelsey Cartwright singled to right field to send Elmore home.
In the fourth inning, the Lady Bisons added two more runs. Mickey Bell opened with a single to right field. Brianne Welch replaced Bell as a pinch-runner. Kristen Sturdivant reached base on an error by Iowa’s second baseman. Jordan Abell replaced Sturdivant as a pinch-runner. Bridgette Begle reached base on a bunt single. Cothron hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Welch. Montgomery grounded out to second base to bring in Abell.
The Lady Bisons scattered five hits.
“We found some ways to put the ball where it needed to be,” Ryman said. “We didn’t have a large number of hits to show for it in the end, but I really thought our bats got a lot better as the game went on.
“We produced in key situations. We took advantage of one mistake on Iowa’s part. Overall, I was impressed with our approach at the plate and how we adjusted throughout the game.”
Ryman started three new outfielders - Montgomery in left, Neely in center and Elmore in right. Bell made her first collegiate start at catcher. The Lady Bisons did not make an error.
The Lady Bisons are back on the field today at 4:30 p.m. to face Houston. Sophomore left-hander Ashley Anderson is expected to make the start.
“It is a really great way to start the season,” Ryman said. “They are exuding confidence right now. Whether they are confident are not, they are selling it.
“They are a fun group to coach. I thought our dugout was really into it. The players coming off the bench were ready. We have to come back this afternoon and pass another tough test with Houston.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations