SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – A mix of experience and youth proved to be potent on the mound for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
Senior left-hander Ashley Anderson and freshman right-hander McCarley Thomas combined to shut out Evansville 7-0 Friday night to close out the first day of the Blues City Classic hosted by the University of Memphis.
Anderson, 3-0, threw five innings to pick up the win. She struck out a career high 10 batters. She gave up two hits.
“Ashley controlled the game from the very beginning,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “She struck out the first two batters she faced.
“We scored for her early and that was a great cushion for her to have, but she didn’t need that much. Ashley can get strikeouts. This was a great example of her going out and dominating. She is pitching with a lot of confidence and that goes a long way.”
Thomas made her collegiate debut pitching the sixth and seventh innings. She allowed one hit, struck out two and walked one.
“We felt like the way that Ashley was having success that McCarley would be a good choice,” Ryman said. “The pitches that are her strength we thought would work against Evansville. We want to get a better feel of our younger players who haven’t had a ton of playing time. She came and threw two great innings.”
The Lady Bisons connected for two hits in the first inning, but used two wild pitches and a throwing error to score three of their four runs.
They would add two more in the fourth and one in the fifth.
In game one the Lady Bisons pounded 18 hits in a 9-2 win over Appalachian State.
“We are really excited with how we opened the tournament hitting the ball,” Ryman said. “We had a good approach. We made some adjustments. We just kind of stayed the course.”
Gracey Aguirre, batting clean-up, had a game-leading four hits against Appalachian State and then had another big game at the plate with a game-leading three hits against Evansville.
“Gracey is absolutely on fire,” Ryman said. “She was 7-for-8. Every one of her hits was a missile. They weren’t little bloop kind of hits.
“She is very much in the zone now. Gracey was a huge spark whether it was getting a rally going or driving runs in.”
Heather Parker, 2-1, gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to Appalachian State but closed out the game with six scoreless innings. She scattered six hits and struck out five.
“I thought Heather did a really nice job after giving up the big hit,” Ryman said. “She was really in control after that. She stayed composed and didn’t let it get to her. That says a lot about her level of maturity. We definitely hit well behind her.
“It was a big game for Heather to get under her belt. She is tweaking some little things. Pitching, like hitting, can be extremely mental. We just want to get her comfortable in the circle again.”
The Lady Bisons are 10-1 and have won their last four games. Evansville slipped to 2-4.
Saturday the Purple and Gold continue play in the Blues City Classic with a single game against Southeast Missouri State at Greensbrook Park in Southaven, Miss. Game time is 12:30 p.m.
“We don’t know a tremendous amount about SEMO,” Ryman said. “We are trying to work more on ourselves and making sure we don’t have a drop off in intensity or energy level.
“Good teams are not influenced by where they are playing or who they are playing. They just go out and play their game.”