NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A slow start evolved into a strong finish for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
On a chilly, gray Saturday afternoon at Draper Diamond the Lady Bisons opened with a disastrous first inning in game one against North Florida, falling 5-1, and bounced back to win 8-0 in game two. The game was called after five innings.
Game three of the Atlantic Sun series is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Lady Bisons are 14-14, 3-5 in the conference. North Florida is 23-10, 2-3 in the A-Sun.
The start of the day was less than promising for the Lady Bisons.
Heather Parker walked Danica Mandarano, the first batter she faced. Kelly Wilson then followed with a single. Ashley Holton reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Paige Neely. Mandarano and Wilson both scored on the play. Holton later scored on a fielder’s choice after advancing to third on the throwing error. Jackie Reese topped off the inning with a two-run homer.
“We are going to make mistakes,” LU coach Kristin Ryman said. “We know that. A crucial mistake was made and she (Neely) knows that.
“The flood gates opened up. You don’t ever want to give up five runs in an inning. But you definitely don’t want to start a game like that.”
After the first inning Parker, 4-8, threw six shutout innings. She gave up a total of six hits. She struck out six and walked one.
“When we came off the field I told our players we couldn’t let it affect us,” Ryman said. “We battled the rest of the way. We had some good at bats. We just couldn’t get hits in key situations.”
The Lady Bisons wasted no time striking back in the night cap, scoring four runs in the first inning.
“We fought hard,” Ryman said. “We made good contact. We have good enough hitters and good enough speed that if we are putting the ball in play we are going to make things happen.”
Tanner Sanders, 9-4, threw her ninth complete game and her third shutout. She allowed two hits. She struck out two and walked two.
“Tanner threw well,” Ryman said. “She had a lot of offense behind her.”
Gracey Aguirre drove in two runs in the four-run first inning in game two with a triple to right center. She added a third RBI in the fourth with a single to right.
“Gracey was swinging at good pitches,” Ryman said. “She fought pitches off. She was doing a good job of swinging through the ball.”
Kristen Sturdivant also added three RBI for the Lady Bisons in game two. She brought home two runs in the third on a single down the left field line. She walked with bases loaded in the fourth to force in another run. In game one she singled up the middle.
“Kristen hits the ball hard enough that if she hits it on the ground it is going to go through the infield,” Ryman said. “She is also doing a good job of swinging through the ball.”
Neely added a pair of hits in game two and drove in one run.
Kaylie Wallace, 10-4, went the distance in game one for North Florida. She scattered five hits, walked two, struck out two and hit one batter.
Kayla Goff started the second game and pitched 3.2 innings. She gave up eight hits, walked three and struck out four.
“We can’t worry about not sweeping the doubleheader,” Ryman said. “We have to come out and be ready to win the series against a good North Florida team.”
Fans are encouraged to check lipscombsports.com for any possible changes in Sunday’s game time due to possible adverse weather conditions.