The Lipscomb softball team weathered mother nature this weekend by defeating Appalachian State, 3-0 on Sunday to go 2-0 at a rain-shortened Lady Bison Classic this weekend.
Mollie Mitchell drove in two runs, including a solo opposite field home run and Whitney Kiihnl shutout the Mountaineers’ lineup for the Lady Bisons second win in three days on 35-degree afternoon at Draper Diamond.
“I was much more pleased with the way we played today than on Friday,” head coach Kristin Ryman said. “We got a few key hits in timely situations today and overall I thought we had a lot more quality at-bats today than we did on Friday.”
“It feels good to get two quality wins this weekend over some scrappy teams. Anytime you win a couple of games in a row you build momentum and confidence and I hope we take this into next week.”
The Lady Bisons (7-8) got on the scoreboard first Sunday when they plated two runs on three hits in the bottom of the third. Mackenzie Tucker led-off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kiihnl. With one on and one out, Bre Thurman laced an RBI-single up the middle to score Tucker from second, giving Lipscomb a 1-0 lead. After Thurman advanced to second on a throwing error by Appalachian State, Mitchell lined an RBI-single to center, scoring Thurman.
Lipscomb put the pressure on APSU again in the fourth when they had bases loaded and Courtney Billington laced a ball down the left-field line that was ruled foul by a couple of inches before striking out to end the threat.
Lipscomb continued to lead 2-0 until Mitchell connected on a one-out opposite field home run to give the Lady Bisons a 3-0 lead. The home run was Mitchell’s second of the year and team’s ninth.
From there it was all Kiihnl, who retired seven of the last nine outs herself via strikeout.
Kiihnl scattered four hits while walking three to go along with 11 strikeouts in the complete game shutout victory. Sunday’s performance marked the second straight game where Kiihnl had at least 10 strikeouts. She retired 14 batters via strikeout in a Friday’s 2-0 win over Butler.
“Any time Whitney is on the mound for us she gives us a great chance to win,” Ryman said. “It was good to get two runs in the bottom of the third inning today to try to take some of the pressure off her.""She tends to get stronger as the game goes along because she is such a great competitor."”
In two games this weekend, Kiihnl struck out 25 batters in two, seven-inning shutout performances. The junior (7-4, 0.73 ERA) now has 115 strikeouts in 76.1 innings.
The Lady Bison Classic Tournament was shortened to five games due to the large amounts of rainfall in the Middle Tennessee area on Saturday. Lipscomb went 2-0 while Eastern Illinois, Appalachian State and Butler all went 1-1.
“It would have been nice to play a couple more games this weekend but we can’t control mother nature,” Ryman added. “I thought we handled everything the best we could with what we were dealt.”
The Lady Bisons will travel south to Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday (Mar. 8) for a doubleheader with the UAB Blazers. Game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader will start at 4 p.m.
Lipscomb will return home to the friendly confines of Draper Diamond on Thursday (Mar. 10) when they host Austin Peay in a doubleheader, starting 3 p.m.