NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A loss is a loss, but close losses usually hurt the most.
Sunday afternoon the Lady Bisons fell 2-0 to Kennesaw State at Draper Diamond. The Lady Bisons dropped to 11-13 overall, 2-4 in the A-Sun. Kennesaw State is 20-4, 4-1 in the conference. The Purple and Gold was 1-2 for the series.
“We came out and really fought hard both days against a really good team,” LU coach Kristin Ryman said. “We are proud of the girls. It was a great effort.
“We are clicking pretty well right now. But we don’t want to settle for one out of three, especially at home. We just have to keep fighting.”
Freshman right-hander Tanner Sanders, 7-4, threw a complete game. She pitched 18 innings in the three game series with two starts and one relief appearance. In Sunday’s loss she gave up only four hits and two runs, both earned. She walked two and struck out two.
“Tanner threw a lot of innings this weekend,” Ryman said. “For a freshman she really threw well. She gave us a shot today after winning Saturday.”
The fifth and sixth innings were both crucial for the Lady Bisons for many reasons.
With two outs in the fifth Kennesaw's Carly Van Auken walked. Sara Sikes doubled to left center to score Van Auken. Missy Perkowski singled to left center to score Sikes.
“It was a frustrating way for Kennesaw State to score a couple of runs, but it happens,” Ryman said. “That is why you play a full seven innings.
“Our A-Sun games are going to be close. We are going to have a lot of one or two run games no matter who we play. We have to have the toughness and composure mentally to work through those tough innings and execute in those key at bats. We will get there.”
In the sixth the Lady Bisons attempted a rally. Bree Thurman connected for the Lady Bisons first hit of the game, a single to right center, to lead off the inning. Heather Montgomery followed with a single to second base. Brittany Elmore grounded out to the pitcher, but Thurman moved to third and Montgomery went to second. But the Lady Bisons would not be able to capitalize as Bridgette Begle popped up to second and Paige Neely struck out.
“We want to put ourselves in a position where we have an opportunity to win,” Ryman said. “We had an opportunity to tie it in the sixth.
“We tell our girls that games are not won or lost with one play or one at bat. But everything does add up. We have to make sure we are doing our part and finding a way to work out of jams.”
Monica Vickery started for Kennesaw State and pitched three hitless and shutout innings. She was replaced by Amanda Henderson, 12-0, who threw the final four innings. Vickery walked two and did not strike out a batter. Henderson struck out four and allowed three hits.
“We hit the ball solid several times early in the game against Vickery but we hit it right at people,” Ryman said. “We had to adjust to Henderson and after a couple of innings we did. I thought once we did we had some more good at bats.”
The Lady Bisons are back in action Wednesday as Tennessee Tech from the Ohio Valley Conference visits Draper Diamond for a doubleheader. Game one starts at 4 p.m. and game two is scheduled for 6. The games were scheduled to replace games lost due to the weather at the Purple and Gold Classic earlier this month at Lipscomb.