The Lady Bisons won the first game 8-0 as Whitney Kiihnl combined with Ali Watson for the Lady Bisons 26th shutout of the season. In game two the Lady Bisons prevailed 20-1 as Alaina Jacobson and Watson combined for the win.
“It was a great way to finish up conference play,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “We came out and hit the ball well. Belmont struggled some on the mound.”
The 20 runs tied the season high for the Lady Bisons who scored 20 against Oakland University Feb. 20 in a tournament in Statesboro, Ga.
Game one was called after six innings as the Lady Bisons scored two runs in the fourth, four in the fifth and one in the sixth after opening the game with one run in the first.
The Lady Bisons pounded out 13 hits, led by catcher Mollie Mitchell and designated player Caroline Mason with three apiece. Mason drove in a season-high four runs, including two on a home run to right center. Mitchell slammed her sixth double of the season.
Second baseman Abby Keese hit a solo homer in the first with two outs. It was the 50th career home run for Keese who has 13 this season, one short of her career season high of 14 set both her freshman and sophomore years.
“Abby has been noted for her power,” Ryman said. “Her average has also been more consistent this year. “Today she got back to taking some really aggressive swings. It’s good to see her get back to that form.”
Kiihnl, 28-2, gave up one hit in four innings. She walked two and struck out seven. Watson pitched two innings and did not give up a hit as she earned her second save.
In game two, called after five innings, the Lady Bisons took advantage of six walks and one hit batter to score six runs. They added five more in the second sparked by a three-run home run to left field by Mitchell.
In the third the Lady Bisons again scored six runs as three batters walked and one was hit by a pitch. Lauren Dortwegt’s RBI-triple, her first of the season, was the big hit of the inning.
In the fourth the Lady Bisons added another run as Courtney Billington scored on a wild pitch.
With Camille Cross on base with a single in the fifth Megan Rottler hit her second home run of the season to left field to close out the scoring.
Jacobson pitched four innings. Scattering five hits and allowing one run. She walked two and did not strike out a batter Watson picked up her second save of the day. In one inning she gave up two hits and walked one.
“There were a lot of walks in the second game,” Ryman said. “I felt like our hitters adjusted to that. We were disciplined at the plate. We weren’t chasing a whole lot of pitches.
“They had trouble finding the zone and walked in a few early. I felt like when we did swing the bats we got the most out of it and moved runners around. We took advantage of the fact that we had so many base runners.”
Every healthy player on the roster played in one or both games.
“It was nice to jump out and get good leads in both games and be able to rest some girls,” Ryman said. “We were able to give some girls who work hard in practice a chance to play. We talked with them after the games and told them we don’t take for granted what they come to practice every day and do.
“They have an outstanding group of experienced players in front of them. There are not too many years when it is like that. I thought those players were ready today when we called on them. They went in and did a great job. We want them to continue to be ready through this last stretch and into the postseason.”
The Lady Bisons are 42-10 overall, 18-2 in the conference. Belmont is 10-42, 3-15 in the A-Sun.
Senior Day for the Lady Bisons is planned for May 6 when Middle Tennessee State visits Draper Diamond for a doubleheader to finish the regular season.
Final exams begin Friday and end next Thursday.
“We are going to do some light practices between now and MTSU,” Ryman said. “We are going to take a few days off as well. We want to give them some time to rest and study.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher and Director of Media Relations.