NASHVILLE, Tenn. – They play in different conferences and different states but since 2010 the rivalry between the Lipscomb Lady Bisons and UAB Blazers has been a strong one.
In 2010 the Lady Bisons faced UAB in a regular season doubleheader which they split. In the postseason they played UAB twice in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.
“We really had a lot of respect for how they played,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “They were a program on the rise like we were.
“That year it was neat to see so many close battles between our programs. It was a respectful match-up. Every time we played them you hated to see one team lose because the games were so good. We were so similar at that point.”
UAB’s coach Marla Townsend recruited Ryman out of Smyrna High School.
“I have always had a lot of respect for her,” Ryman said. “We have known each other for a long time.”
The two teams will meet Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium for a doubleheader. The Lady Bisons are 27-8. UAB is 21-14.
The Lady Bisons have lost their last three games. UAB has won its last four including a 4-0 shutout at home against Jacksonville StateTuesday night.
This season the Lady Bisons beat UAB 9-5 Feb. 16 in the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas.
UAB has a 9-5 all-time advantage over Lipscomb.
“We have a lot of respect for how they play,” Ryman said. “Their program has continued to climb. They have had a little bit more postseason success than we have. They have done a great job in Conference USA of establishing themselves as one of the top teams.
“They are always a great RPI game for us. For us we need to continue to force the issue against good competition.“
Caitlin Attfield is an offensive leader for UAB with a .440 batting average, 55 hits and 22 runs scored.
Kristen McGrath has a team-leading .682 slugging percentage. She leads in doubles with nine and RBI with 31. Megan McGrath is the home run leader with 12.
Leigh Streetman has a 14-7 record with a 1.74 earned run average. She has struck out 131 batters in 120.2 innings.
Ryman thinks the matchup is a little more interesting than some of the Lady Bisons other mid-week contests. UAB is 26th in this week in the NCAA RPI. The Lady Bisons are 35th.
“I think this is an intriguing matchup,” Ryman said. “We are coming off of a rough weekend. We are a little bit banged up as are most teams this time of year.
“But we really want to bounce back from this past weekend. We left Upstate with a lot of disappointment. We are not necessarily discouraged, but we want to get back on track. This is good timing to face another high RPI team which is having a good season.”
Neat for Neely: Lipscomb third baseman Paige Neely has been a model of consistency at the plate this season. She enters the UAB doubleheader with a team-leading .405 batting average and a 12-game hitting streak, the longest of the season.
She leads the team in several other categories including runs (34), hits (49), doubles (10) and slugging percentage (.579) and multiple-hit games (13).
Sturdivant power: First baseman Kristen Sturdivant is tops on the team in home runs with seven and runs batted in with 32. She leads the team in multiple-RBI games with 10.
On the base paths: Sophomore Brittany Elmore is a perfect 14-of-14 in stolen bases this season.