SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Senior Lipscomb catcher Mollie Mitchell has always been a fighter.
Thursday afternoon Mitchell and the No.4-seeded Lady Bisons will need all the fight they can muster when they face three-seed USC Upstate at 2 p.m. CDT here at Cyrill Stadium in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. The loser goes home and the winner stays to play another day.
The Lady Bisons lost to No. 5-seed Jacksonville 2-1 in the first game of the tournament Wednesday afternoon. The game was delayed for an hour-and-15 minutes due to rain in the area.
"I feel like we are as good of a team as anybody here," Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. "Our players need to know that. They need to believe in themselves.
"We have had a lot of things happen with our team recently. We have to continue to fight like our lives depend on it. We have to be ready to play the next game, play the next inning and face the next pitch. If we come out with that mentality I feel strongly that we can be there in the finals on Saturday."
Mitchell thinks the Lady Bisons will have short memories of the Jacksonville loss.
"The general mood is we can fight through it," Mitchell said. "We are built to keep fighting.
"We have Whitney (Kiihnl) and we have Ashley (Anderson) behind her. We have the bats. I don't think we played bad at all. The ball just didn't fall our way."
Mitchell reached base three times, connecting for a double and a single, and walking once. It was her 11th double this season.
"It is good to come into my last conference tournament and perform," Mitchell said. "It has definitely been a frustrating last few weeks for me.
"I have been working on it. It takes one little hit at a time. That's what I was trying to get across. If everyone starts getting little base hits the runs are going to start pouring in."
First baseman Haley Elliott accounted for the scoring for Lipscomb, slamming a solo home run to left center in the sixth inning. It was her 11th home run of the year.
Jacksonville scored a pair of runs in the fifth to take the lead. With one out Melissa Morales walked. Codi Kelly doubled to right center moving Morales to third. Morales scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch. Kelly scored when Amanda Schmidt rached base on a throwing error by shortstop Bridgette Begle.
Kiihnl, 22-13, went the distance for the Lady Bisons. She allowed four hits and only one of the runs she gave up was earned. She walked four, hit one batter and struck out two.
Jacksonville's Sarah Sigrest, 18-11, picked up the win. In five innings she scattered five hits. She struck out three and walked three. Brittany Eppley shut down the Lady Bisons for two innings, striking out four and giving up only one hit for the save.
The Lady Bisons made some lineup adjustments for the Jacksonville game. Brianne Welch started in left field and Gracey Aguirre was shifted to right. Elliott was moved to the No. 4 position in the batting order.
"It is definitely not over," Mitchell said. "It is a long way from over. Someone has to come out of the loser's bracket so it might as well be us."
By Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.