May 04, 2012123456RHE
USC Upstate2020329100
Win: ALEXANDER (25-5) 6.051124
Loss: KIIHNL (21-12) 6.0109533
May 04, 20121234567RHE
USC Upstate0100000171
Win: ANDERSON (11-5) 7.071122
Loss: CLAUSER (3-3) 6.052201
KIIHNL (LIP) 302100
Lipscomb clinches tournament berth with split
Friday, May 4, 2012
Lipscomb clinches tournament berth with split

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior Night didn’t start the way head coach Kristin Ryman wanted it to, but it ended with a return to the postseason.

The Lady Bisons clinched a spot in next week’s Atlantic Sun Tournament thanks to a 2-1 victory in the second game of the Friday night doubleheader. Lipscomb (32-18, 9-7 in the A-Sun) dropped the opener to USC Upstate (37-11, 10-6 A-Sun) 9-1 in six innings.

Early on it looked as though USC Upstate had the Lady Bisons number. The Spartans put up two runs in the first inning in game one, with doubles from Shellie Robinson and Cheyenne Griffin scoring the first run and Katelyn Molkenthin scoring on a double steal attempt.

The Spartans struck again in the third on a two-run single by Maddison Kieffer and then blew the game open in the fifth on a three-run home run by Robinson to right-center.

Upstate put Lipscomb in the position to be run-ruled in the sixth when Kieffer singled in Griffin and Hayley Reinfeld scored on a Lindsay Kelly sacrifice fly.

Senior Caroline Mason hit a run-scoring single in the sixth but that would be all the Lady Bisons could muster in the loss.

Junior Kelsey Cartwright went 2-for-2 for Lipscomb in the opener.

Kiihnl was touched up for 10 hits and nine runs (five earned) to fall to 21-12 on the season. Upstate’s Hannah Alexander got the win, scattering five hits and striking out four.

“Whit didn’t have her best stuff in the first game,” Ryman said. “It was a frustrating day for her, but credit to their hitters for swinging the bats well.”

Game Two: Lipscomb 2, USC Upstate 1

Upstate jumped out to an early lead in the second game. Second-inning singles by Reinfeld and Kieffer got the inning started; after they advanced to scoring position, Reinfeld scored on a Kendall Settlemyre fielder’s choice that freshman Ashley Anderson elected to come home with instead of throwing to first. Reinfeld slid in under the tag for the first run.

That would be the only blemish on Anderson’s evening. She scattered seven hits in the complete game, striking out two on the way to her season’s 11th victory.

She earned the victory thanks to the Lady Bisons offensive output in the fifth inning. After junior Bree Thurman reached on a fielder’s choice, she stole second and came around to score on a single to centerfield by sophomore Bridgette Begle, who advanced to second after the throw to the plate hit Kieffer, the shortstop, in the arm and bounced away.

Begle then scored on a similar single by Kiihnl, who led the Lady Bisons with a 2-for-3 performance in the second game.

“We made some adjustments at the plate in the second game,” Ryman said. “It finally clicked in the fifth and we strung together some hits and got some runs across.”

With the victory, Lipscomb is guaranteed a spot in next week’s conference tournament in Spartanburg, S.C. Lipscomb has now qualified for the tournament six years in a row, dating back to the 2007 season.

With two games tomorrow against ETSU, Lipscomb can lock up the fourth seed with a sweep of the Bucs, and could move into third if Upstate were to be swept by Belmont.

Lipscomb takes on the Bucs beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday evening at Draper Diamond.