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Sanders pitches a no-hitter as Softball sweeps NKU
Lipscomb (30-22, 16-8 A-Sun)
at
Northern Kentucky (11-39, 5-20 A-Sun)
5/3/2013 | Highland Heights, Ky | Attendance: 0
1234567RHE
Lipscomb3000000360
Northern Kentucky0000000020
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: PARKER (13-11) 7.020015
Loss: CAUDILL (1-7) 1.033300
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
AGUIRRE (LIP) 312000
DAVIS (NKU) 301000
STEINMETZ (NKU) 201000

Friday, May 03, 2013

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Lipscomb freshman softball pitcher Tanner Sanders capped off a doubleheader sweep of Northern Kentucky with her first collegiate no-hitter.

After winning game one at Northern Kentucky’s Grein Softball Field 3-0, the Purple and Gold came back with a 6-0 win in the nightcap Friday afternoon. The Lady Bisons are 31- 22 overall, 17-8 in the Atlantic Sun. Northern Kentucky, in its first year in the A-Sun, is 11-40 overall, 5-21 in the conference. Both teams close out the regular season Saturday at noon with a single game.

Sanders, 17-9, struck out seven hitters and walked five.

“It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but a no-hitter is a no-hitter,” LU coach Kristin Ryman said. “I am really proud of Tanner.

“She did a nice job of not letting too much get away from her. It should definitely be a confidence builder for her heading into the tournament.”

Sanders depended on her defense to help her out. Shortstop Bridgette Begle, second baseman Brittany Elmore, first baseman Kristen Sturdivant and third baseman Paige Neely allput in solid performances in the infield combining for three double plays overall.

“Tanner did walk a few, including a couple in the seventh inning,” Ryman said. “But every time runners got on she found a way to get key outs.

“Defensively all day we played really well. We made some key double plays. We played really nice defense behind both of our pitchers.”

Big hits were the rule for the Lady Bisons who combined for three home runs, two triples and three doubles in the two games.

In game two, Begle’s triple to right field in the first inning brought in one run and Neely sent home another with a sacrifice fly.

Begle drove in another run in the second with a single to second, scoring Bree Thurman who had opened the inning with a single to center.

Sturdivant had the biggest game at the plate in game two as the Lady Bisons connected for nine hits. Sturdivant opened the sixth inning with a home run down the left field line. She also had a pair of doubles – one in the third and another in the seventh that drove in a run. Both were hit to left center.

“Kristen’s first double was off the top part of the fence,” Ryman said.

Elmore pounded an RBI-triple in the sixth to left center, her fourth of the year.

Gracey Aguirre had two singles in each game.

The Lady Bisons scored all of their runs in game one in the first inning. With two outs Neely hit a solo home run to right center. Aguirre singled and was brought home by Mickey Bell who slammed a homer over the left field fence. LU collected six hits in the game.

“We showed we could hit from top to bottom,” Ryman said. “Not everybody had great at bats every single time up.  We found ways to make adjustments.

“Even if a couple of people are off or struggling it doesn’t mean we can’t score runs and get contributions from other people. It was a good day to see everybody getting into the mix.”

Heather Parker, 13-11, went the distance for LU. She allowed only two hits. She walked one batter and struck out five.

“Neither Tanner nor Heather had their best stuff,” Ryman said. “That is what was so crazy about today. We have seen both of them throw better before. Even with them not having their best stuff, to get two performances like that the week before the tournament is huge for them and for the team.”

“Northern Kentucky struggled to make good contact. When they did a couple of times we either made great plays or they hit it right at us.”

The Lady Bisons will continue their season next week in the Atlantic Sun Conference Softball Tournament at Lipscomb’s Draper Diamond. The seeding will not be finalized until the completion of Saturday’s games.

“This is the way we want to be playing going into the tournament,” Ryman said. “We have talked about how important momentum is. It was fun to watch them play. They were loose and enjoying themselves.

“The girls were talking Friday night about the seeding scenario. They are thinking about it. They know we have a job to still do. We want to be the highest seed in the tournament that we can be. It is good to see us come out and have the approach we had today.”