NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With the Atlantic Sun portion of the season only six days away Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman is trying to find the right combination for her team both offensively and defensively.
“We have to be able to limit our strikeouts,” Ryman said. “Right now, we have too many top to bottom. We have to put the ball in play and make things happen.
“We have to find a good balance between that and a defense that is executing and keeping its composure. Our defense has to get the job done.”
IPFW pitcher Miranda Kramer struck out 16 Lady Bisons hitters on the way to a 5-1 win Sunday afternoon at chilly Draper Diamond. Kramer, 5-3, threw a perfect game until LU’s Heather Montgomery reached on a bunt single with two outs in the sixth inning.
“Some of our players were fighting and fouling pitches off,” Ryman said. “Other players missed the ball quite a bit. We have to take those things into consideration this week.”
Kelsey Cartwright prevented the shut out with a solo home run in the seventh over the fence in right center with one out. The only other player to get a hit for the Lady Bisons was Haley Elliott who singled to left field in the seventh.
The game was part of an abbreviated version of the Purple and Gold Challenge. The games scheduled for Friday and Saturday had been postponed because of wintry weather.
Heather Parker, 3-5, started for the Lady Bisons. She scattered 11 hits, all singles. She struck out six and hit one batter. She did not issue a walk. Only three of the runs were earned. The Lady Bisons committed three errors.
IPFW scored one run in the third, one in the fifth and three in the seventh. Brittany Krachur led IPFW with three hits in as many trips to the plate and two runs batted in.
IPFW is 7-4. Earlier in the day they beat Tennessee Tech 8-0 in five innings.
The Lady Bisons are 7-9 overall. They travel to Jacksonville this weekend to begin A-Sun play with a doubleheader at noon Saturday and a single game Sunday at noon.
Ryman stopped short of saying that lineup changes will be made before heading to Florida.
“I feel like we had a pretty set lineup at the beginning of the season,” Ryman said. “We have kind of struggled more here of late.
“We have to try to find what group is going to produce and is going to be the best fit together as we head into conference play. There are not any more games to try some different things to see what will work.”
Ryman hinted that she might work with some players at new positions during practice this week. Late in the IPFW game Paige Neely moved from center field to third, Gracey Aguirre played first for Kristen Sturdivant and Haley Elliott made her first appearance behind the plate replacing Mickey Bell.
“Some of the players who have typically been known for their defense maybe more so than their hitting aren’t playing their best defense right now,” Ryman said. “And players who have been known for their hitting more than their defense are struggling with their hitting right now.
“We don’t want those players to feel more pressure. But, at the same time, we have to find what works. We want to go into conference play feeling like you have a steady lineup that is executing. We just aren’t at that point right now. We will go with our gut feelings as to who will give us our best chance at Jacksonville.”