Tuesday, March 12, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One Lipscomb Lady Bisons player will know her way around Austin Peay’s Cheryl Holt Field.
LU third baseman Paige Neely returns to Clarksville Wednesday for the first time as a player since transferring from the Austin Peay program after the fall 2012 semester.
Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman is hopeful there will be a cordial welcome for Neely, unlike the boo fest that met former Nashville Predators player Ryan Suter when he returned to Bridgestone Arena Saturday night with the Minnesota Wild.
“I think it will be fun for her to see some of her friends, and to see some of the girls she spent the last year-and-a-half with,” Ryman said. “But I think she is glad to be where she is.
“It will be neat for her to be back. It may be a little different playing against some girls she was playing with last fall. That will be a unique challenge.”
The Lady Bisons, 8-11, face Austin Peay from the Ohio Valley Conference in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Austin Peay, 9-5, swept a doubleheader Tuesday from Southern Illinois by scores of 11-7 and 8-2.
Neely is coming off a strong weekend. Shifted from center field to third base for the Atlantic Sun opening series at Jacksonville Neely was strong at the plate with a .545 average, two multi-hit games, one multi-RBI game and her first home run of the season.
Ryman was also impressed with Neely’s play at third base.
“She is playing well right now,” Ryman said. “We are going to look for that to continue.
“She hit the ball really well this past weekend. With the defensive changes she handled the move to third extremely well. She made some really nice plays. She took away a few hits.”
The Lady Bisons are looking to get back on the winning track against Austin Peay after a 1-2 weekend at Jacksonville.
“Mid-week games give us an opportunity to go back to the doubleheader mode and try to sweep two,” Ryman said. “It gives everyone an opportunity to prepare for the weekend.
“Those who have struggled at the plate can find a way to work through those kinks. They can try to get back on track. Pitchers can continue to work on their game plans.”
There may be some experimentation but winning is always the goal whether it is a mid-week or weekend game.
“It gives us an opportunity to get back in game mode,” Ryman said. “And right now our players are in game mode. At this point they would much rather play than practice.”
The Lady Bisons are home this weekend to face Kennesaw State in a three-game Atlantic Sun series. Saturday the two will play a doubleheader followed by a single game on Sunday. Starting times both days will be at 2 p.m. at Draper Diamond.
“We like defensively the changes that we saw last weekend,” Ryman said. “We have to continue to get those players as comfortable in those roles as we can.
“I think we did play better at Jacksonville. We hit better as a team. We had better quality at bats as the weekend went on. It is a process. We have to learn from the mistakes that we have made.”