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A-Sun action continues for Lady Bisons softball
North Florida (23-9, 2-2 A-Sun)
at
Lipscomb (13-14, 2-5 A-Sun)
3/23/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 153
1234567RHE
North Florida5000000561
Lipscomb0100000151
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: WALLACE (10-4) 7.051022
Loss: PARKER (4-8) 7.065416
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
MANDARANO (UNF) 311010
WILSON (UNF) 411000
HOLTON (UNF) 411000
REESE (UNF) 311201
HENDRIX (UNF) 301000
TEWEY (UNF) 301000
ELMORE (LIP) 301000
ELLIOTT (LIP) 301000
STURDIVANT (LIP) 301000
THURMAN (LIP) 301000
MONTGOMERY (LIP) 301000

Friday, March 22, 2013
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find a weak spot in the batting order to the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team.

In their last seven games the Purple and Gold is averaging just fewer than nine hits per game. They have eight hits in four of their last five games.

However, the Lady Bisons will be tested at the plate this weekend when North Florida, 22-9, 1-2 in the Atlantic Sun, visits for a three-game series. Saturday’s doubleheader at Draper Diamond begins at 2 p.m.  A single game is scheduled for Sunday at 1. The Lady Bisons enter the series with a 13-13 record, 2-4 in the conference.

“I think we are hitting the ball well,” LU coach Kristin Ryman said. “If we can continue to hit like we have for the last couple of weeks we are going to be tough to beat.

“When everybody is clicking at once we have so many weapons from top to bottom. We can create a lot of instant offense.”

North Florida features three pitchers with earned run averages under 2.00. Kaylie Wallace leads the way with a 9-4 record and a 1.43 ERA. Cortney Radke is 4-1 with a 1.92 and Kayla Goff is 9-4 with a 1.98 ERA.

“North Florida is playing well as a team,” Ryman said. “All three of their pitchers return from last year.

“They move the ball well. They try to force you to hit their pitches. We have to be smart at the plate. We have to be disciplined.”

Freshman Brittany Elmore is the leading active player in hitting for LU with a .344 average. She has nine multi-hit games and also leads the team in hits with 31 and runs with 19. She is known for her speed on the base paths and has a conference-leading 19 stolen bases.

Bree Thurman who has returned to the starting lineup in center field for the last six games is batting .333. She enters the North Florida series with a six-game hitting streak, the longest current streak for the Lady Bisons. Five of her eight hits have been for extra bases with three doubles and two home runs.

“Bree has been a in a tough situation,” Ryman said. “She had started the last couple of years and this season she has been a role player. It has been tough for her to sit and watch. They all want to be out there.

“She has some pop in her swing. What we are looking for from Bree is consistency at the plate, and she is providing that right now. She has been a really big spark for us.” 

Gracey Aguirre, starting in right after being sidelined with an injury, has also shown her share of power. In the doubleheader sweep of Tennessee Tech Wednesday night she blasted three doubles. She has seven doubles and two home runs in 17 games.

“Gracey is in a groove hitting,” Ryman said. “With Kelsey Cartwright out we need hitting from a lot of different people.

“We need consistency from our seven, eight, nine, one and two hitters. If they get on base that means the kids in the middle that are known more for their power are going to be at the plate in more RBI situations.”

While the hitting has been improving, Ryman knows that effective fielding and pitching must also be part of a winning recipe.

“We talked a little after the Tennessee Tech games about making better decisions,” Ryman said. “We have to know our arm strength. We have to know where the play is. If it is not there, then where do we go next?

“We can’t make unnecessary throws. Our outfielders have to hit the cutoff. Our middle infielders are very good at making those plays. We just can’t give up extra bases. We are creating pressure situations for our pitchers that we don’t need to create. We have to be smarter defensively.”