BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons had a new look in the batting order and it proved to be effective.
Brittany Elmore remained in the lead-off spot, but Rena’ Cothron moved from the bottom third of the order to No. 2 and Paige Neely dropped a notch to No. 3. They combined for four hits, three runs and three runs batted in.
The sister act of Kelsey Cartwright and Mimi Cartwright batted fourth and fifth respectively. They each had one hit with Mimi driving in three runs with a bases loaded double.
The top five hitters accounted for six of the eight hits, scored five of the seven runs and drove in six as the Lady Bisons beat Western Kentucky 7-1 at the WKU Softball Complex Wednesday night. The Lady Bisons are 36-11 overall, surpassing last year’s win total. It is the third highest win total in a season for Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman.
Western Kentucky dropped to 31-17-1 with the loss.
“We talked about making the middle part of our lineup a little bit stronger and putting more RBI hitters in there,” Ryman said. “We decided to move Rena’ up. She does a very nice job of moving runners. She can drive them in if she is that role. She has shown flashes of power but she is more often than not a singles or doubles type of hitter.
“We slid Paige and Kelsey down and put them in more of an RBI situation. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good move.”
Left-hander Ashley Anderson picked up her 18th win of the season. She scattered five hits, walked two, hit one batter and struck out four.
“We had thought about giving Ashley some rest but we also want to make sure she stays ready,” Ryman said. “We knew Western was going to be a challenge. They lost to Kentucky Tuesday night but were right in the game until the seventh.
“We wanted to throw everything we could at them. Ashley came out and did a nice job.”
In the third inning the Lady Bisons put the first run on the board when Neely doubled to left center to score Brittany Elmore.
Western Kentucky tied the game in the third on a double to right center.
The Lady Bisons answered in the fifth. With the bases loaded Mimi Cartwright doubled to right center to drive in three runs as Kelsey Cartwright, Cothron and Elmore scored.
“I thought Mimi’s double really broke it open,” Ryman said. “Paige had the double early in the game that got us on the board. I thought that was big because before that we weren’t hitting the ball square yet.
“They walked Kelsey (in the fifth) to load the bases and get to Mimi and she gets the big hit. We settled in and got some better at bats.”
Bridgette Begle singled to left field in the fifth to add another run for a 5-1 lead. Mimi Cartwright scored.
Cothron singled to center in the seventh and was thrown out at second on the play. She drove in a pair of runs as Brianne Welch and Begle scored.
Cothron and Begle each had two hits.
“We had a little bit of a slow start offensively,” Ryman said. “But we worked counts better as the game went on and we had better pitches to hit.
“I loved how we finished up the game hitting. That was good to see.”
Lipscomb pitcher Heather Parker made her first start of the season at first base making 13 put outs in the game.
“Heather did a really good job at first defensively,” Ryman said. “Offensively, I was really impressed. She hasn’t had live pitching in practice recently. For her to come in and get four at bats and three walks showed a lot of discipline.
“The inning we kind of broke it open, she led that inning off with a walk. We didn’t have Kristen Sturdivant at first base. Heather came in and gave us everything we needed.”
The Lady Bisons close out the Atlantic Sun regular season Saturday and Sunday against Northern Kentucky. Saturday’s doubleheader at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium starts at 4 p.m. Sunday is “Senior Day” with a 1 p.m. start time.