They swept East Tennessee State 5-0 on pitcher Whitney Kiihnl’s fourth no-hitter of the season and won the nightcap 2-1 in eight innings.
The games were also part of “Strike Out Cancer” Night at Draper Diamond Friday night as part of breast cancer awareness.
Linda Anderson, mother of Lipscomb baseball coach Jeff Forehand, threw out the first pitch. She is a breast cancer survivor. The Lady Bisons also wore special pink jerseys. A crowd of more than 200 fans attended.
“That was so exciting for us to have someone that we know and who is close to the Lipscomb family come out here and do this,” Ryman said. “Everyone here has been touched by some form of cancer.
“We think tremendously of her and Jeff and her whole family. That capped off a special day.”
The Lady Bisons are 22-7, 2-0 in the conference. ETSU slipped to 9-19, 0-2 in the A-Sun.
“You want to take care of the games at home,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “Right now we feel fortunate to open up at home 2-0.”
Kiihnl pitched her fourth no-hitter of the season and came within two outs of her second perfect game.
Kiihnl, 15-2, struck out 10 batters. The only ETSU player to reach base was safe on an infield error in the seventh inning. It was her sixth shutout and seventh complete game of the season. The Lady Bisons have shut down teams 14 times this season.
“It was an outstanding performance again from her,” Ryman said. “She is one of those pitchers who has the potential to do that every game.”
The Lady Bisons scored four runs in the fourth inning and added another one in the sixth.
In the fourth Christen Campbell walked with one out. Mollie Mitchell singled through the left side moving Campbell to second. Megan Rottler also singled through the left side, bringing in Campbell. Lauren Dortwegt singled to center to plate Mitchell and Rottler. Mackenzie Tucker singled to bring in Dortwegt.
With one out in the sixth Kiihnl was safe on an error by ETSU's pitcher. She went to second on the throw. Kiihnl moved to third on a bunt single by Dortwegt. Kiihnl scored on an error by the catcher.
The Lady Bisons pounded out 11 hits. Dortwegt's double to center in the third was the only extra base hit. Dortwegt led with three hits. Kellie Sirus and Tucker each had two hits.
“Lauren had a great game,” Ryman said. “She really showed the type of player she is at the plate. She can swing away. She can bunt. She can slap.
“She can do it all. Anytime a defense has to consider all three of those options it really puts the pressure on them and gives her the advantage.”
In game two the Lady Bisons opened with one run in the first off of ETSU pitcher Marissa Hardy. Tucker singled through the left side with one out. Abby Keese doubled to right field, one of her game-leading three hits. Kellie Sirus walked to load the bases. Campbell walked to bring home Tucker.
ETSU tied the game in t he third. Neither team could get anything started offensively until Mitchell hit a two-out single to left to score Courtney Billington.
Campbell, 5-2, held ETSU to three hits. She struck out five and did not walk a batter. Both pitchers threw complete games.
“Ideally, you don’t want it to be a close game, but anytime you can win a close one is a confidence builder,” Ryman said. “This team knows how to win. That is one thing that separates us from what this team was like a couple of years ago.”
The Lady Bisons are back in action Saturday at 2 at Draper Diamond with an Atlantic Sun doubleheader with USC Upstate. The series is billed by the conference as the “A-Sun Series of the Week”. The highlight will be USC Upstate’s Morgan Childers facing Kiihnl. Both are listed in several categories in the NCAA Division I national rankings.
“It will be two more tough games,” Ryman said. “Morgan Childers is a great pitcher. She has established herself as one of the best pitchers in our conference.
“I anticipate it being a pitchers’ duel. It may come down to who makes a mistake first or who gets that key clutch hit at the right time.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.