The Lady Bisons opened the second round of the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., Saturday with a 3-0 win over Kentucky from the Southeastern Conference. They closed the day with a 7-3 win over Kansas from the Big 12.
“Any time we can face off against a big name team that plays in a bigger conference is a plus for us,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “Any time we can pull out wins against teams like this it is an added bonus.
“We earned those two wins on our performances. To be able to say we beat teams in the Big 12 and SEC says a lot. We have a lot of experience on the field. We have players that are hungry to prove something.”
Pitcher Whitney Kiihnl threw a two-hitter against Kentucky, striking out 10. When starter Christen Campbell struggled against Kansas, allowing four hits and three runs, Kiihnl came on in relief. She allowed only one hit while striking out 11 in 6.1 innings.
“We didn’t want to let things get out of hand too quickly,” Ryman said. “Our offense has been so strong over the last couple of weeks that we wanted to make sure we gave our hitters a chance.”
The Lady Bisons are 11-1 for the season. Kentucky fell to 10-3. Kansas dropped to 6-8.
Kiihnl is 8-0 this season. She has not allowed a run in 18.1 innings. Kiihnl also had three hits, all in the Kansas game.
First baseman Kellie Sirus had four hits and four runs batted in. Two of her hits were doubles.
The Lady Bisons also received help from players whose names start with other letters of the alphabet.
Shortstop Courtney Billington had three hits, two for doubles. First baseman Vanessa Medina recorded three hits in the Kansas game. Billington, batting second, and Sirus, hitting in the third spot, have become a formidable duo at the plate.
“Courtney is one of those hitters who brings so much to the table,” Ryman said. “Kellie has the power. But I think Courtney can develop into that type of a hitter. She has power, but you see it more in doubles than home runs. She does have home run pop. She also has speed.
“Kellie has a couple of more years of experience. But they are both hitting extremely well this season. “
The Lady Bisons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Kentucky sparked by an RBI-double to left center by Sirus. Catcher Mollie Mitchell grounded out to first base allowing Sirus to score.
The Lady Bisons added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. With two outs Billington doubled to left field. Sirus followed with her second double of the game, also to left field, to bring Billington home.
Also getting two hits for the Lady Bisons was second baseman Abby Keese with a pair of singles.
Against Kansas the Lady Bisons scored two runs each in the first and second innings. They added three more in the sixth to seal the win.
Second baseman Abby Keese drove in Sirus with a double and then scored on a passed ball in the first inning.
In the second Billington doubled down the right field line to score Kiihnl and Caroline Mason.
Sirus singled to center in the sixth to drive home Dortwegt and Kiihnl. Medina scored the first run of the inning when she advanced from third on an error by the Kansas first baseman.
The Lady Bisons close out the tournament at 9 a.m. Sunday against Georgetown, a team they beat 3-0 last season.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/ Director of Media Relations.