NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Wins don’t really mean anything in fall softball, but the numbers can still be impressive.
In 15 innings over more than five hours at Draper Diamond Wednesday night the Lipscomb Lady Bisons pounded out 19 hits and scored 17 runs in beating Trevecca Nazarene 9-0 and 8-0.
“We needed a day like this one,” coach Kristin Ryman said. “I thought it took us a couple of innings to adjust in game one. But then we had some really good consecutive at bats. We did a good job of putting the ball in play.
“I thought we had some good at bats and were really patient when we needed to be. A few times we were maybe too picky late in the count. We drew a lot of walks with seven or eight in the second game.”
The Lady Bisons have won all six of their fall games. They close out the fall schedule Saturday at 1 p.m. when Middle Tennessee State visits.
Ryman wants her team to win every time her players hit the field, but she knows that the fall is a time to look at options in the batting order and new possibilities in the field. She got a good look at her players, especially in game two when the number of lineup shifts resembled a person trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
“In the second game we got a chance for some of our girls who we usually see in role situations to get several at bats,” Ryman said. “Some of them did some really good things. It was good to see them get several opportunities in a row instead of just one at bat.”
One of the more interesting lineup shifts was outfielder Brianne Welch spending some time at second base.
“Brianne has done a good job when we have thrown her over there in practice and some games,” Ryman said. “She is quick over there and covers a lot of ground.”
Outfielder Gracey Aguirre played first base in the second game.
“Gracey fields the ball well,” Ryman said. “She brings a little quickness. She just needs a little more experience with some of her foot work.”
Haley Elliott caught three innings in game two, her first time behind the plate this fall.
“Rena’ Cothron needed a break,” Ryman said. “She has done such a good job and she has been so durable back there.
“I thought it was good for Haley to get back there even if she is a little bit limited with what she can do right now.”
Despite the chilly temperatures the Lady Bisons were able to connect consistently at the plate. Kristin Sturdivant hit a two-run homer and Paige Neely added a triple for the big hits of the doubleheader.
“We were looking for our core group to really hit like we know they can,” Ryman said. “We want them to get their confidence back and have quality at bats as a whole.
“They get limited at bats. We are trying to get everybody in. It is hard for batters to get in a rhythm.”
Ryman got a look at all four pitchers. Ashley Anderson started game one and McCarley Thomas closed out the shutout.
Taylor Neuhart opened game two and pitched four innings. Heather Parker finished up the game with three scoreless innings.
“There are some things we would still like to see from our pitchers,” Ryman said. “We want them to work ahead of batters a little bit more.
“I thought Taylor and McCarley at times did a good job with that, but at times they struggled. Taylor threw a lot of pitches in four innings. For her to be effective as a late game pitcher, or as a starter, she is going to have to be somebody who can come in and get ahead of batters.
“I think she and McCarley are both improving. That is what we want to see. Two shut outs. We will take it.”