HOUSTON, Texas - A combination of power and finesse proved to be a winning formula for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons as they handed coach Kristin Ryman her 223rd career victory making her the winningest coach in Lipscomb softball history.
They got an early wake-up call for their game with Texas State Saturday morning at the Hilton Classic at Cougar Softball Stadium in Houston, Texas. After spotting Texas State a 3-0 lead the Lady Bisons erupted with two runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the sixth for a 7-3 win.
She surpassed the 222 won by Andy Lane in two stints at the helm of the program from 1996-99 and 2002-2004.
“It was an all-around great team win,” Ryman said. “Both of our games Friday were the same.
“That is the most exciting part of it for us as coaches. We are using multiple people. Our dugout is really into it and our players are ready when we call on them.”
With two outs in the fourth inning Kristen Sturdivant blasted a two-run homer over the center field fence. Also scoring was Mickey Bell who had walked.
Rena’ Cothron was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth inning. Heather Montgomery advanced Cothron to second with a bunt single. Brittany Elmore then singled to the pitcher to load the bases. Cothron scored from third on a passed ball. Paige Neely singled between third and short to drive in Montgomery and Elmore.
In the sixth inning Haley Elliott came in to pinch-hit. She slammed a two-run home run to left field that also plated Bree Thurman. Sturdivant had led off the inning with a walk and was replaced with Thurman as a pinch-runner.
“We used a combination of power and speed,” Ryman said. “We had been wanting to get Haley an at bat. There was an RBI situation and we wanted to take advantage of Haley and her power.
“It is encouraging to see two players with a ton of power come through. We feel like this is a year when Kristen can really break out and have a good season. The middle part of our lineup has power. But we have a lot of players who are going to put the ball in play and not strike out a lot. There are not too many weak points in our lineup right now.”
Right-hander Tanner Sanders picked up her second win and second complete game in as many outings. She struck out six, scattered seven hits, walked two and allowed two earned runs. She also gave up one home run, a two-run shot in the fourth inning.
“Tanner gave up a pretty big hit early on and we had to fight from behind,” Ryman said. “I thought she did a really nice job of maintaining her cool and continuing to work.
“It wasn’t her best game or her best pitches, but she still found a way to win. I think that is a credit to how hard she has worked to develop her other pitches.”
Neely, Sturdivant and Elliott each had two runs batted in. Elmore, the lead-off batter, paced the Lady Bisons with two hits. The Lady Bisons combined for six hits.
The Lady Bisons will put their 3-0 record on the line at 4:30 p.m. today when they face Louisiana-Lafayette. Texas State fell to 0-3 with the loss.
The Hilton Classic ends Sunday at 9 a.m. with a rematch with Houston.