NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Everyone talks about doing some sweeping in the spring, but the Lipscomb Lady Bisons did more than talk.
Sunday, sparked by a three-run homer to left center field in the fifth inning by Kelsey Cartwright, the Lady Bisons beat ETSU 4-2. It was the first Atlantic Sun series sweep for the Lady Bisons this season. They beat ETSU 9-0 and 10-1 Saturday in a doubleheader at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.
“In an ideal world, and this is a coach talking, we want to keep our standards high,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “I don’t think today was our best. Obviously, we saw what we are capable of Saturday from an offensive standpoint. We really didn’t have that today.
“Overall, we told our players, we are glad for the sweep. This was a great time to get it. This has been a grind the last couple of weeks. We are asking our players to give us everything they have got and to push through the next few weeks as hard as we can.”
The Lady Bisons are 31-9 overall, 11-6 in the A-Sun. ETSU falls to 15-21 overall, 4-11 in the conference.
ETSU struck for a run in the first inning, Nicole Fox led off the game with a single. Fox advanced on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Lipscomb pitcher Ashley Anderson to score from third.
The Lady Bisons answered in the bottom of the first with one run. Brittany Elmore led off with a double down the left field line. She stole third. Paige Neely reached base on an error by ETSU first baseman Katie Wolff that allowed Elmore to score.
The game remained tied until Cartwright’s blast.
“We really didn’t seem overly worried,” Ryman said. “We weren’t really pressing.
“Once Kelsey got the big hit in the fifth I thought you could really see the confidence of the team come back out. We were more relaxed after that.”
ETSU did not give up. In the sixth they managed one more run on a double to left center by Jackie Baird.
“Credit ETSU for coming back and getting a run,” Ryman said. “They put themselves in a position to tie it or win it in the last couple of innings.
“I thought Ashley really dug in and defensively we did a nice job in the last couple of innings of getting out of a couple of jams. And that is one of the things we want to limit. When we take a lead we want to slam the door, and I think we left the door open today.”
Defensively, the Lady Bisons played Jordan Abell at second, Mimi Cartwright at third and Neely at shortstop. Shortstop Bridgette Begle sat out the ETSU series in an effort to get some extra rest.
Mimi Cartwright moved from second to third. Neely switched from third to short. Abell started for the third time at second, the first starts of her career.
“I thought Mimi and Jordan did a nice job again with all of those changes,” Ryman said. “Anytime you have defensive changes like that there can be uncertainty.
“We executed plays. We didn’t look rattled in the infield. We certainly didn’t hurt ourselves defensively.”
First baseman Kristen Sturdivant, known for her ability to hit a softball a long distance, is also a solid force defensively.
“Kristen receives the ball at first about as well as anybody,” Ryman said. “She takes short hops well. She has a good feel for when a ball is going to pull her off of the bag. She knows when to come off, try to catch it and get the tag.
“She is a bonus over there. You can overlook what a first baseman does on an every single play basis. She brings a presence when she is there at first.”
Anderson, 15-2, went the distance for the win. She scattered five hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Whitney Leon, 2-6, started for ETSU and took the loss. In 4.2 innings she gave up four hits and four runs, three earned. She walked three and did not strike out a batter.
Taylor Carter closed out the game for ETSU. In 1.1 innings she struck out one, walked one and allowed one hit.
Lipscomb catcher Rena’ Cothron tied for the game lead in hits with two. Fox also had two hits.
The Lady Bisons return to action in a crucial A-Sun series with Mercer on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. A highlight of the weekend will be the official dedication of the stadium.
“We are banged up a little bit right now,” Ryman said. “I think overall we have to make sure we are holding the bar high for ourselves and that we are coming out on Sunday as sharp as we do on Saturday.
“I think at this point it is just a matter of coming out and doing it. I don’t think that there is any less effort on Sunday. I just think it is a mindset of what pitches we are attacking, how we are taking the field and how we are handling ourselves.”