JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a case of turnabout is fair play for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
After being beaten 12-4 in six innings in game one of a doubleheader by North Florida at the UNF Softball Complex, the Lady Bisons came back with a vengeance for a 9-0 win in five innings in the nightcap. Both games were called early due to the run rule.
It was the Atlantic Sun opener for both teams. The Lady Bisons are 14-3, 1-1 in the conference. North Florida is 15-4, 1-1 in the A-Sun. The series finale is Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.
The coaches met with the players and then the players met together.
“We talked after game one and we were just not happy or content,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We made a lot of errors which is no characteristic of us. Those errors really hurt us.
“We talked about making sure we are paying attention to the little aspects of the game. The big things will take care of themselves if we take care of the little things. And I thought a lot of little things hurt us – mental errors that don’t show up in the box score like the four errors we made.”
After giving up 12 runs in the final two innings of game one, the Lady Bisons wasted little time taking control in game two.
With one out in the first inning Paige Neely and Gracey Aguirre slammed back-to-back solo home runs. Neely’s went over the center field fence. Aguirre’s cleared the left center field wall.
“I thought that was huge,” Ryman said. “The girls decided they wanted to put a big emphasis on communication in game two.
“We had talked so much about setting the tone. And we set the tone right off the bat. It was exciting to see our team come back like they did in game two. We showed a lot of fight.”
In the second the Lady Bisons sent 11 batters to the plate scoring seven runs on four hits. The big hit of the inning was a three-RBI double down the right field line by Kristen Sturdivant.
Brianne Welch led the Lady Bisons with two hits. She had three for the day, one RBI and one stolen base.
“One of the things that is so impressive with Brianne is even when she makes outs they are productive outs,” Ryman said. “She has so many quality at bats.
“She is a pesky No. 9 hitter. She is making good things happen.”
Left-hander Ashley Anderson went the distance in the circle for the Lady Bisons. She scattered three hits, struck out four and walked one. She is undefeated this season with five victories.
“Ashley came in and did a very nice job controlling the game from the start,” Ryman said. “She threw her pitches. She was confident.
“She gave them a different look than what UNF saw in game one. I think UNF struggled to make adjustments. I thought overall she did a real nice job.”
In game one the Lady Bisons scored two runs in the third inning on a fielding error. They added one in the fourth as Bridgette Begle crossed the plate on a ground out to second by Welch. In the fifth Begle singled through the right side. That sent home Aguirre who had reached base on an infield single.
“Bridgette is making a lot of stuff happen,” Ryman said. “We love her in the sixth spot. When she gets s on a roll she can be as hot as anybody at the plate.
“She is a diverse type of hitter in the middle of the order. She has some pop in her swing. She can hit gap-to-gap. She can drop a bunt for a hit. And she runs well. It was good to see her have a good day.”
But North Florida came back strong in the bottom of the fifth, capitalizing on three hits and three errors for five runs. In the sixth North Florida added seven more on five hits.
Heather Parker, 3-2, started in the circle for the Purple and Gold and was credited with the loss. She gave up four hits, five runs (three earned), walked five and struck out five in 4.1 innings.
“Heather did a nice job overall,” Ryman said. “But when the defense started falling apart behind her I thought she was pressing a little bit.”
Tanner Sanders relieved and allowed six hits and seven runs, all earned. She walked four and struck out one.
“Tanner struggled and our defense wasn’t any better,” Ryman said. “It was a frustrating way to go being in control for 4 ½ innings and then falling apart.
“It was a frustrating way to start. But every game in the A-Sun is going to be a dog fight. Game one was a perfect example of that. There is not one game where you can be comfortable with a lead. We have to play until the last out.”