NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Now the wait begins.
The Lipscomb softball team lost 3-0 Thursday night to USC Upstate in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium on the Lipscomb campus. Coupled with a 2-0 loss to Stetson earlier in the day the Lady Bisons were eliminated from the double elimination tournament.
The Lady Bisons have been in the mix for postseason play all season. They entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed. USC Upstate is seeded No. 1.
One of the two teams was going to be eliminated marking the first time since 2008 that both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds had lost in their first games on the same day in the tournament.
The 64-team NCAA field will be announced Sunday night. The Lady Bisons are hoping and praying they will qualify.
“Normally, at this time of the year when you are out of the tournament, you are talking about having a great season and wrapping things up,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “It was a little bit odd with our postgame talk.
“It was a weird mix of emotions. We were frustrated that we didn’t find a way to push through and keep winning and stay in the tournament longer.”
Ryman knows that the Lady Bisons are probably going to need some help from some other teams.
“Right now it is just a wait-and-see game,” Ryman said. “I think they know there is a chance, but I think they know that it may not happen.
“We know we can’t do anything to control our future at this point. Some of them are keeping their hopes up. And some of them are upset because they wanted to win this tournament.”
The players are staying in town awaiting final word on their postseason fate. Ryman expects many of them to attend the games Friday and Saturday. She also is tentatively planning a hitting session Saturday.
Hitting was an issue for the Lady Bisons in both games. They connected for five hits in the loss to Upstate, but couldn’t get the clutch hits when they needed them. Kristen Sturdivant led the Lady Bisons with a pair of singles. Mimi Cartwright had the only extra base hit for the Purple and Gold with a double.
“It was a frustrating day,” Ryman said. “I felt like at moments in the Upstate game we were getting a good barrel on the ball.
“We had several well-hit balls. We again struggled to put it all together. We had our five hits and several other well-hit balls right at people.”
Ashley Anderson, 19-6, started for the Lady Bisons. She had also been on the mound earlier for seven innings in the loss to Stetson. Anderson lasted 2.1 innings. She gave up three hits, including a two-run homer by Upstate’s Kendall Settlemyre in the third inning. She struck out one and walked one.
Tanner Sanders closed out the game for the Lady Bisons. In 3.2 innings she scattered four hits and walked one. She gave up one run on a double by Aly Schneider in the sixth.
The Lady Bisons are 39-13. Upstate is 45-6.
“It’s a weird position to be in,” Ryman said. “We would have certainly liked to have done more to feel a little bit more confident about the NCAA Tournament.
“I still feel like we have had a great season. I still think we deserve to be in the round of 64. I think we have proven that all year long.”