February 10, 20121234567RHE
Jacksonville State0000000050
Win: KIIHNL (1-0) 7.050029
Loss: PHILLIPS (0-1) 6.082244
RUTH (JSU) 101000
HOLLEY (JSU) 301000
GRAHAM (JSU) 301000
BORDERS (JSU) 301000
THURMAN (LIP) 412000
MASON (LIP) 212010
February 10, 20121234567RHE
Mississippi State100020X350
Win: K. Vry (1-0) 7.031116
Loss: ANDERSON (0-1) 4.032210
THURMAN (LIP) 311101
MASON (LIP) 301000
MEDINA (LIP) 201000
B. Bell (MS) 212000
Lady Bison Softball Opens 2012 at Mardi Gras Tournament
Thursday, February 9, 2012
By Colby Wilson
Lady Bison Softball Opens 2012 at Mardi Gras Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 2012 softball campaign will kick off Friday for the Lady Bison in Mobile, Ala. at the Mardi Gras Tournament. Lipscomb starts the weekend off with a doubleheader against Jacksonville State (10 a.m.) and Mississippi State (12:15 p.m.), followed by single games against second-ranked Alabama (Saturday, 3 p.m.) and host South Alabama (Sunday, 12:15 p.m.).

After a one-year hiatus, the Lady Bison are back at the Mardi Gras Tournament. On their last trip to Mobile, Lipscomb went 2-1 with wins against Western Kentucky and SIU-Edwardsville and a loss to host South Alabama.

Last season, Lipscomb opened the campaign at the Georgia Red and Black Showcase. The Lady Bison went 1-4, with losses to East Carolina, Illinois State, Maryland and the host Bulldogs and the lone win coming against Iowa.

The Lady Bison are eager to face Alabama again. The Crimson Tide knocked Lipscomb out of its only NCAA Regional appearance in program history in 2010, defeating the purple-and-gold twice before falling to Hawaii in the Super Regional.

The Lady Bison return much of last season’s offensive prowess. Senior outfielder Caroline Mason led Lipscomb in hitting (.307) and home runs (9) while senior catcher Mollie Mitchell drove in a team-high 36 runs.

Senior pitcher Whitney Kiihnl is the active A-Sun leader in wins (71), strikeouts (902) and shutouts (31); the 2010 third-team All-American is a vital cog in the Lady Bison machine.

This weekend, freshmen Ashley Anderson, Brianne Welch, Gracey Aguirre and Jordan Abell will play their first regular season games, while junior transfer Kelsey Cartwright will make her Lipscomb debut.

Last Time Against This Weekend’s Opponents

Lipscomb last faced Alabama and host South Alabama in 2010. South Alabama defeated the Lady Bison, 3-2, in the 2010 version of the Mardi Gras Classic. Whitney Kiihnl threw four innings of no-hit ball but didn’t factor in the decision. Alabama defeated the Lady Bison twice in the 2010 NCAA Regional to eliminate Lipscomb from play. Lipscomb hasn’t faced Jacksonville State since 2006, when they lost three games to the Gamecocks (two at home, one at Auburn’s tournament). This will be the first meeting between the Lady Bison and Mississippi State.

Lady Bison Picked to Finish Second, Kiihnl and Mason Earn Preseason A-Sun Honors

Kiihnl and Mason were named to the preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference team, and Lipscomb was picked to finish second in a vote of the conference coaches. Kiihnl was chosen as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year by a fan vote on the A-Sun’s Facebook page.

Lady Bison Receiving Votes From ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll

Lipscomb received two votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll, released Jan. 24. It marks the second year in a row Lipscomb has earned votes in a preseason poll, and the third season in a row Lipscomb has received votes in any poll throughout the season.  

Kiihnl, Mason Named to College Sports Madness Preseason First Team

Kiihnl and Mason were named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com preseason All-Conference first-team in the websites first-ever softball vote. Both were all-conference selections in 2011 for the Lady Bison.

Fact of the Weekend
Lipscomb has split the season’s first doubleheader in three of the last four seasons. In two of those season-openers, Lipscomb defeated a school in a power conference, knocking off Iowa (Big 10) last season and Georgia Tech (ACC) in 2008.

On Deck
The Lady Bison make their first regular-season appearance in Nashville next weekend, hosting the Lady Bison Round Robin against Butler and Samford Feb. 18-19 at Draper Diamond. It will be the last chance for Lipscomb fans to catch the Lady Bison at home until March 7.