The Lipscomb Bison softball team didn’t have very much to celebrate during the Mardi Gras Tournament in Mobile, Ala., in terms of wins, but coach Kristin Ryman thinks her team will quickly overcome the deficiencies of the weekend.
The Lady Bison closed out the tournament Sunday afternoon with a 6-1 loss to host South Alabama at Jaguar Field. The Lady Bison were 1-3 for the tournament with a win over Jacksonville State and losses to Southeastern Conference foes Mississippi State and Alabama.
“All of the teams we faced could make the NCAA Tournament,” Ryman said. “It was an outstanding tournament. We were definitely challenged, but there was great competition throughout the tournament.”
Whitney Kiihnl started for the Lady Bison against South Alabama, but struggled early with five walks and one hit batter in 1.2 innings. She gave up four runs, none of them earned, on a grand slam by Brittany Fowler in the second inning.
Ashley Anderson relieved and allowed only two runs, one earned, on three hits. She walked two and struck out six.
Adding to the pitching problems was four errors.
“Whit has to get back to throwing tournament ball,” Ryman said. “She ran into a little bit of a wall. Her pitches weren’t working. It was definitely not her day.”
Anderson, a redshirt freshman, was solid in her college debut.
“Ashley came in against South Alabama and did exactly what we needed her to do,” Ryman said. “She had a couple of walks. That is something we are going to address with both Whitney and Ashley this week. We want to make sure our opponents have to earn everything they are getting.
“After going through a rough couple of innings Saturday night we didn’t know how she would bounce back. But she kept us in the game and gave us a shot. We threw her into the fire. I think she did well.”
Lipscomb’s lone run came in the fourth inning. With one out Kristen Sturdivant doubled to left followed by another double to left by Rena Cothron.
Offensively, the Lady Bison didn’t produce a lot of runs, but Ryman liked the way her players were swinging overall.
“I thought we had some good, quality at bats throughout the weekend,” Ryman said. “We have to limit our strikeouts.
“The run production was not where I would like it to be. We left a lot of runners on base over the weekend. But considering the quality of pitching we were facing I was not really disappointed with our hitting. Overall, I thought we made some good things happen offensively.”
Ryman will also be stressing both offense and defense this week.
“We want to work on situational-type hitting,” Ryman said. “We want to find ways to move runners. If a batter is going to make an out, then make an out by moving a runner from second to third rather than flying out to an infielder.
“Defensively, we are going to work on situations. There were some areas we saw where we might be a little weak.”
The Lady Bison make their home debut Saturday and Sunday with a round robin tournament featuring Butler and Samford at Draper Diamond.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.