CHARLESTON, S.C. – With inclement weather limiting Lipscomb to one Saturday game at the College of Charleston Classic, head coach Kristin Ryman sent senior Whitney Kiihnl to the mound in search of her third win in the Palmetto State.
Kiihnl did not disappoint, picking up an 8-0 shutout victory for the Lady Bison (6-3). She scattered four hits and struck out three for her fourth shutout, running her personal record to 6-2.
“Middle Tennessee is a team we’re very familiar with,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “We’ve seen them a lot over the past few years, mostly in the fall. It was important for us to have a good game against them.”
The teams traded zeroes for two innings before Lipscomb broke through in top half of the third. After Kiihnl walked and stole second, she moved to third on a single by sophomore Rena’ Cothron. Junior Kelsey Cartwright doubled to left-center, bringing both runners around to score and giving Lipscomb an early lead.
Kiihnl danced out of trouble early on, leaving five runners stranded in the first three innings. She walked two to open the third inning, but was helped out by junior Bree Thurman, who threw out MTSU’s Nina Davenport out at the plate to keep the Blue Raiders off the board.
Lipscomb poured it on the fourth inning, plating six runs. Sophomore Kristen Sturdivant drove in senior Mollie Mitchell on a single to left after Mitchell reached on the first of three MTSU errors in the inning.
Following a flyout by freshman Gracey Aguirre, Thurman singled to left and advanced to second on a throwing error. Kiihnl moved over to third, having previously reached on a fielding error, and Sturdivant and sophomore Bridgette Begle came around to score.
Cartwright capped off the fourth-inning scoring with a three-run shot to left-center that scored Kiihnl and Thurman. The home run was the second of the season for Cartwright, the junior transfer from Auburn.
“The bats really came alive today,” Ryman said. “Proud of our hitting tonight, and it should give us more momentum at the plate going forward.”
Kiihnl put two on the bottom of the fourth, but struck out the next three batters in order to get out of the jam.
“Whit’s thrown a lot this year,” Ryman said. “She knows she’s going to get the ball a lot for us, and part of that is working her way out of jams. Lexi (Myers, Lipscomb’s pitching coach) came out and talked to her after she put two on, and got her refocused. She was untouchable the rest of the game.”
Lipscomb went down quietly in the top of the fifth, and Kiihnl set MTSU down in order in the home half to secure the shut-out victory.
Cartwright went 2-for-5 on the day, driving in five of the eight Lady Bison runs. She’s the first Lady Bison to drive in five or more runs in a game since Mitchell drove in five runs against USC Upstate on March 27, 2011.
The Lady Bison close out play in the College of Charleston Classic Sunday morning when they face Louisiana-Monroe. First pitch is scheduled for 8 a.m. (CT).
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