NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons got a “bonanza” of runs from the Cartwrights.
In the closing game of the Music City Classic Sunday afternoon the Lady Bisons beat Butler 6-3 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. Earlier in the day the Lady Bisons edged Virginia Tech in the seventh inning with a walk-off home run to left field from Kristen Sturdivant.
The Lady Bisons are 4-0 to start the season. Virginia Tech dropped to 2-1. Butler is 2-2.
“It is weird for us to have opened the season at home,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We are really excited about the start that we have had.
“We are hitting the ball really well right now from top to bottom. We are getting quality at bats from a lot of people even when we are not getting hits. Everybody is doing their own jobs.”
Five of the six runs in the Butler game were the results of hits by Kelsey Cartwright, a fifth-year senior, and Mimi Cartwright, a freshman.
“It is neat for them to have this opportunity to play together,” Ryman said. “They both had a really good day.”
Kelsey is adjusting to the role of designated player. She had one hit in each of the first two games Saturday. She was hitless against Virginia Tech but had two against Butler.
“It is only the second day of the season, but Kelsey has high expectations for herself,” Ryman said. “She struggled Saturday and through part of the Virginia Tech game, but she turned it around and had a really nice game against Butler.”
After spotting Butler a run in the top of the first, Kelsey responded with a three-run blast over the left field fence.
Butler cut the Lipscomb lead to one run with a solo home run to left by Callie Dennison in the second and tied the game with another solo homer, this one to right field by Kristen Boros to open the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning Mimi hit a ground ball double through the gap between third and short to score two runs. Haley Elliott, pinch-hitting for Bridgette Begle, brought in a run with a sacrifice fly to right.
The two sisters offer contrasts in what they bring to the Lady Bisons offensively.
“Kelsey is more of a power hitter,” Ryman said. “Mimi has the ability to drive the ball in the gaps and hit ground balls through the infield as well as anybody. She had several clutch hits and key at bats for us in the seventh spot in the order this weekend.”
Paige Neely had a season-high four hits, including two doubles.
Left-hander Ashley Anderson, making her first appearance of the season, threw a complete game. She gave up eight hits and three runs, all earned. She struck out four and walked three.
“Our goal was to really find a way to score runs and give Ashley a cushion to work with,” Ryman said. “There were some bumps early. The game was tied 3-3 for a long time. Anytime you have a game like that it puts more pressure on your pitcher. You don’t want to miss on a pitch.
“When Ashley is at her best she is getting batters to bite at her pitches and using her defense. That is what she did the last couple of innings. It was good to see her complete the full seven.”
In the Virginia Tech win, Sturdivant continued her strong start to the season with her second home run. Brianne Welch hit a double to left in the third inning for the only other hit for the Lady Bisons.
Ryman called it a balanced win with contributions all around.
“We had some good at bats, but we were really struggling to get hits and get runners in scoring position,” Ryman said. “Then Brianne comes through with a double and scores.”
Kelly Heinz went the distance for Virginia Tech. She is the No. 1 pitcher for the Hokies.
Tanner Sanders won her second game for the Lady Bisons. She gave up only two hits and one run. She struck out five and walked four.
“We knew that if we stayed strong defensively and got what we needed out of Tanner we would have a shot at the end,” Ryman said. “That is what happened. Kristen fought back after striking out in the at bat before and got the home run.
“Overall Tanner made adjustments. Megan Smith (pitching coach) did a good job of adjusting pitches based on what we saw. We wanted to try to keep them off balance late in the game.”
The Lady Bisons head to Waco, Texas this weekend for the Getterman Classic at Baylor.