March 30, 20121234567RHE
North Florida100000X120
Win: WALLACE (12-3) 7.030014
Loss: KIIHNL (17-5) 6.021005
ELLIOTT (LIP) 301000
KIIHNL (LIP) 201000
BROSKY (UNF) 311000
March 30, 20121234567RHE
North Florida04000004114
Win: ANDERSON (4-4) 4.084420
Loss: BROWN (4-6) 3.152224
AGUIRRE (LIP) 402100
DILL (UNF) 303000
Lady Bison split A-Sun opener at North Florida
Friday, March 30, 2012
Lady Bison split A-Sun opener at North Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a tough game one loss, the Lipscomb softball team rebounded with a nice game two victory to split its conference-opening doubleheader at North Florida, Friday. The Lady Bison dropped game one 1-0 but won the second 5-4.

Lipscomb (21-9, 1-1 A-Sun) was shut out for just the second time all year in game one. North Florida (20-14, 2-2 A-Sun) became the first team to defeat senior Whitney Kiihnl without earning a run off her since South Alabama, Feb. 12.

North Florida scored the game’s only run in the home half of the first inning. After Kaley Brosky singled to short stop and advanced to second on a passed ball, Mariah Reynolds brought her around to score on a double to left field to give the Ospreys the early edge. Reynolds’ double was the only extra-base hit for either team in game one.

“Not many people thought that run would stand up,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “Credit goes to their pitcher for keeping us off-balance.”

Game one was a top-flight pitcher’s duel between Kiihnl and North Florida’s Kaylie Wallace. Kiihnl went six innings, allowing only two hits and striking out five without allowing an earned run, but falling to 17-5.

Wallace gave up three hits, to Kiihnl, junior Kelsey Cartwright and sophomore Haley Elliott. She struck out four for her 12th victory.

“She threw a great game against us,” Ryman said. “She really had our number.”

The best chance for the Lady Bison came in the fifth inning. After sophomore Kristen Sturdivant walked, pinch-runner Jordan Abell advanced on a groundout by sophomore Bridgette Begle and Kiihnl’s single. Lipscomb failed to capitalize, and Abell would be the only runner to reach third for Lipscomb.

Game Two – Lipscomb 5, North Florida 4

Elliott got Lipscomb on the board in game two. After junior Bree Thurman singled and sophomore Rena’ Cothron reached via fielder’s choice, Elliott doubled them home to give Lipscomb a 2-0 advantage.

“We started the second game great,” Ryman said. “Haley had a big hit in the first to put us ahead.”

Lipscomb scored again in the second thanks to Cartwright. Sturdivant walked and worked her way around, followed by Cartwright singling through the left side for the RBI.

The Ospreys got going in the home half, pushing across four runs. Marissa Thomas scored Chie Someya on a single down the right field line for the first run.

After Jackie Reese reached via fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch, which scored Megan David, Kaley Brosky drove her in with a single to left center.

North Florida’s final run came via Reynolds single to center, pushing the Ospreys to a 4-3 lead. Brosky scored after advancing to second on a wild pitch.

“They fought back into the second game,” Ryman said. “Their pitchers worked them out of key jams.”

Lady Bison senior Caroline Mason tied it in the top of the fifth, leading off the inning with a solo home run, her season’s fourth homer.

Later in the inning, Sturdivant singled and was brought around for the game-winning run on freshman Gracey Aguirre’s triple.

Redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson went four innings, allowing eight hits and four earned runs for the win. Kiihnl went three innings for the save, her second.

“Ashley kept us in it,” Ryman said. “Normally we’d like to keep her out longer, but in that situation we felt like it would be a good time to bring Whitney back in.

“We had some struggles today, but it wasn’t from lack of effort but lack of execution. It was a challenge to earn the split; they made us fight for it.”

Lipscomb plays Jacksonville, Saturday, beginning at 12 noon (CT).

“We know what Jacksonville brings to the table and we know we have to be at the top of our game tomorrow,” Ryman said. “Everybody wants to beat us, and that doesn’t leave much margin for error.”