April 20, 2013123456RHE
Win: PARKER (10-11) 6.030009
Loss: NIDIFFER (11-14) 4.286641
NEELY (LIP) 323110
AGUIRRE (LIP) 323201
HANEY (MER) 301000
KENNEDY (MER) 301000
SHIVER (MER) 201000
April 20, 20131234567RHE
Win: SANDERS (15-8) 7.086535
Loss: RICE (12-13) 5.255562
NEELY (LIP) 423401
SANTANA (MER) 222010
KENNEDY (MER) 402100
Neely's six hits lead to sweep of Mercer
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Neely's six hits lead to sweep of Mercer

MACON, Ga. - Timely hits are nice. Timely power hits are even better.

Saturday afternoon at Sikes Field on the Mercer campus the Lipscomb Lady Bisons pounded 19 hits, including three home runs and four doubles, on the way to a doubleheader sweep of the Bears in Atlantic Sun competition.

"We try to remind our hitters that the pressure is on the pitcher in bases load situations and not on them," LU coach Kristin Ryman said. "The last thing the pitcher wants to do is to walk a batter with the bases loaded. At some point the pitcher is going to come over the plate with a pitch. If we are ready for those pitches we can attack and do some damage."

The Lady Bisons improved to 26-21, 13-7 in the A-Sun. Mercer slipped to 23-28, 10-13 in the conference. The series closes out at noon Sunday.

Ryman had to sit out the first game due to her ejection from the final game of the USC Upstate series last weekend. Assistant coach Mollie Mitchell led the team. Ryman was back for the nightcap.

The Lady Bisons were sparked by a tape measure grand slam home run over the fence in left center by Kristen Sturdivant in the fifth inning, in the 8-0 game one win. Gracey Aguirre added two runs in the sixth on a homer that cleared the fence in dead center field. The game was called after six innings due to the 10-run rule.

In game two, Mercer jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning but the Lady Bisons rallied for a 10-6 win. An eight-run sixth inning ended a string of five shutout innings. Paige Neely slammed a grand slam to right center, her second hit of the inning.

It was the 10th home run of the season for Sturdivant. It was the seventh homer for Neely.

"When Kristen connects the ball goes," Ryman said of the blast that hit an out building several feet beyond the fence. "She hits as hard as anybody I have seen.

"That grand slam was a huge turning point in game one. I think that is the reason she got three walks in game two. She was patient. She didn't chase pitches. They weren't going to give her any pitches to hit."

Neely tied with Aguirre for the lead in hits in game one. Each had three, including two doubles by Neely. In game two, Neely added three more hits for a game high.

"Paige is on fire," Ryman said. "We need that spark out of the middle of the order.

"Gracey came out in game one with a strong day and then added another double in game two. She is hitting well behind Paige and that is huge."

Brianne Welch drove in two runs with a double to left center in the seventh inning. The Lady Bisons almost needed the insurance runs as Mercer rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the stanza.

"Brianne came up with a big walk and then later on she had a big hit to extend the lead," Ryman said. "That was big for her to come off the bench and get a big hit that gave us a little more breathing room.

"There were a lot of key at bats. There were multiple times where I thought we did a really nice job of staying within ourselves. We weren't trying too hard to get big hits."

Heather Parker, 10-11, went the distance for the Lady Bisons in game one for her fourth shutout of the season. She struck out nine batters and did not walk a batter. She gave up only three hits in six innings.

"That was huge that Heather did not walk a batter," Ryman said. "When she is getting ahead and limiting her freebies she is tough to hit. She had a really, really good day. She attacked hitters from the beginning."

Tanner Sanders, 15-8, held on for the win in game two. She allowed eight hits and six runs, five earned. She walked three and struck out five.

"I thought Tanner overall pitched a pretty good game," Ryman said. "She had a rough start and a rough end. If we can clean up the beginning and the end and keep her sharp she is going to be fine."

Ryman expects Mercer to go all out to prevent a sweep of the series.

"They have a team that you can't give a lot of momentum to," Ryman said. "They have beaten some good teams. At the end of game two they got some momentum going and were able to string together several hits in a row.

"You can't give them any day light. If you do, they are going to grab it and go. I thought overall we did a good job of limiting their base runners. We have to come out again and be the aggressor. We have to keep on making plays on defense and finding ways to hit on our own and we will be all right."