Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman admits that may not be all that fair to Kiihnl that the expectations are so high for the sophomore right-hander even though she has four no-hitters, including one perfect game. She has thrown four one-hitters and four two-hitters.
“Whitney has been so good all season sometimes we take for granted the numbers that she has put up,” Ryman said.
Ryman is also encouraged by the complete game performance by senior Alaina Jacobson, 2-3, 3.38 earned run average, Wednesday night in a 3-0 win over Tennessee State. Coupled with the success of senior Christen Campbell, 8-2, 1.17 ERA, the Lady Bisons have a strong trio of arms.
“We got a good performance out of Alaina and that is a key for us going into the second half of conference play,” Ryman said. “Alaina and Christen have proven they can do well. We will continue to use a combination of pitchers.”
Kiihnl, 20-2, opened the week first in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings (2.04). She is second in earned run average (.64) and fifth in shutouts with 9. She is eighth in wins (19) and 12th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.8). She is 13th in strikeouts overall with 201.
In the A-Sun Kiihnl is first in opposing batting average (.089) and second in wins (20) and earned run average (.63).
She also leads the conference in hitting with a .402 average.
This weekend Kiihnl will be counted on heavily as the Lady Bisons, 31-7, 8-0 in the A-Sun, go on the road to Georgia to face Mercer in Macon and Kennesaw State in Kennesaw. The Mercer doubleheader begins Friday at 3 p.m. The Kennesaw twin bill is scheduled to start Saturday at 1.
“We are definitely going to rely on Whitney a lot this weekend,” Ryman said. “She didn’t throw a lot Wednesday, but was good enough to get the win in game on against Tennessee State. She has Thursday and most of the day Friday to rest before we play.
“It will be another good test for her. But I think we play well behind her. We have been putting up runs for all of our pitchers this year. If we can continue to do that I feel pretty confident.”
Jenni Holtz is 12-11 for Mercer with a 2.22 ERA. Kari Chambers is 5-3, with a 2.08 ERA. Mercer is 19-19, 1-3 in the conference.
“Mercer is pitching well,” Ryman said. “Jenny Holtz is one of the best pitchers in our conference. She beat us a couple of times last year. Anytime she is on the mound she is going to present some problems. And their No. 2 pitcher, Chambers, has done a good job for them as well this year.
“It seems like every weekend we see good pitching in our conference. Their defense is pretty strong. And they have some players throughout their lineup that have done well against us.”
Kennesaw State, 17-16, 3-3 in the A-Sun, has benefited from the return of Jessica Cross who was injured last year. Cross is 10-4 with a 1.47 ERA. She leads the Lady Owls with nine home runs and 28 runs batted in. Kennesaw State is 10-1 on its home field.
“She is really pitching well for them and is one of their better power hitters,” Ryman said. “They are probably as good a hitting team as anybody in our conference. We are not going to get any breaks.
“The small, little details we talk about all of the time are really going to come into play this weekend. Kennesaw presents problems because they are going to put runners on base and keep the pressure on.”
Writtten by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.