STARKVILLE, Miss. - The only thing more frustrating than a loss is what goes wrong to produce such a negative outcome.
A late rally fell short Friday night as the Lady Bisons lost 2-1 to Northwestern State in the opening day of the “Bulldog Battle” at Mississippi State.
“There was a lot of frustration in the game,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We had several really well-hit balls that were right at people.
“Brittany Elmore hit it on the nose. Haley Elliott in her first at bat hit the pitcher in the thigh, but she stayed with the play and barely threw Haley out. Paige Neely hit a shot to left that was right at the fielder.”
The Lady Bisons scored a run in the bottom of the seventh. Mickey Bell singled up the middle with two outs. She was replaced by Bree Thurman as a pinch-runner. Kristen Sturdivant followed with a single up the middle and was replaced on the bases by Jordan Abell.
Bridgette Begle reached base on a throwing error by the shortstop, advancing to second. Thurman scored on the play and Abell moved to third. The rally ended when Rena’ Cothron struck out to end the inning and the game.
“We did hit the ball well at times, but on the whole we had a lot of pop ups,” Ryman said. “We had some strikeouts in some key situations.”
Right-hander Heather Parker, 1-1, made her first start of the season and her fourth appearance for the Purple and Gold. She pitched a complete game and allowed five hits while striking out eight batters. She did not give up a walk.
“It was unfortunate,” Ryman said. “Heather Parker easily threw well enough to win.
“She really threw well last weekend in Houston. I think she earned the right to start. Parker will be ready to come back in relief if we need her Saturday. She can throw and throw. We will use her quite a bit this weekend whether in a starting role or in relief.”
Parker held Northwestern State scoreless until the Demons struck for two runs in the top of the seventh on a pair of singles and a double. A single that was really a pop up in the infield brought home what proved to be the winning run.
“We didn’t control the things we could control,” Ryman said. “That single was a pop up in the infield that everybody stood and watched.
“We have a veteran infield. To have a play like that is just really frustrating. I know it was frustrating for them. Northwestern State scored a run off of it. It was a tough lesson that one little play can make such a big difference.”
The Lady Bisons are 3-3 on the season and have lost their last three games.
It was the second game of the day for Northwestern State which rallied in the sixth inning for three runs in a 5-3 win over Western Kentucky.
Kaylee Guidry, a right-hander, went the distance for Northwestern State. She scattered four hits, struck out four and walked two. She evened her record at 1-1.
Heather Montgomery had a double for the Lady Bisons in the sixth inning.
The Lady Bisons have a long day Saturday. At 10 a.m. they face Western Kentucky. They are back on the field at 6 p.m. against Murray State.
The tournament ends Sunday with the Lady Bisons facing Mississippi State at 2.
“We did see some positives,” Ryman said. “Bridgette Begle had an incredible defensive game at shortstop. She made a quite a few really nice stops. She made one diving stop to her backhand side and came up and threw the kid out at first.
“But we are looking for a little more aggression out of this group and not as much passiveness,” Ryman said. “We had a lot of opportunities to capitalize on some things and we had trouble doing it. Saturday we need to jump start for the rest of the weekend. We were passive at bat and with our defense.”