NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Softball is supposed to be fun and the more times you hit the ball the more fun you have.
Such was the case for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons Wednesday afternoon at Smith Stadium at Draper Diamond against Ohio University.
After winning game one 2-1 on a two-run home run blast by Kristen Sturdivant in the sixth inning, the Lady Bisons opened up for 14 hits in game two on the way to a 9-4 win.
The Lady Bisons, winners of four straight, are 17-3. Ohio University has lost seven games in a row and falls to 12-8.
More than half of those 14 hits were for extra bases with one home run, one triple and six doubles.
“I thought we did a really nice job, in game two especially, of making good adjustments at the plate,” Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman said. “We attacked early in the second game and made adjustments, even during at bats, which sometimes is hard to do.
“We had a lot of well-hit balls that went right to people. We were doing a good job of putting the barrel on the ball. Even when we made outs, especially in game two, a lot of them were good outs.”
The home run in game two was courtesy of Rena’ Cothron who connected for her second of the season. Paige Neely had two hits, including a double.
Gracey Aguirre drove in two runs with a pair of doubles, one to left field and one to right center.
“Gracey is that kind of hitter,” Ryman said. “She may be one of our best at hitting well with power to both sides of the field.
“She is a little banged up right now. But I thought she did a good job of finding good pitches to hit.”
The two players who were obviously enjoying themselves the most were lead-off hitter Brittany Elmore and clean-up batter Kelsey Cartwright. Both collected a game-high three hits. Elmore drove in one run and Cartwright drove in two, both on a first inning triple to left center.
“It was good to see both of them have good days,” Ryman said. “They both had a good time.
“They weren't pressing too much. They kept having good at bats. They found ways to make things happen. When they can do that they make our lineup that much better.”
It was the second three-hit game for Elmore this season and the first for Kelsey Cartwright.
Elmore had an outstanding freshman season, but this season has been a slow start for her. Ryman liked what she saw from Elmore who had a combined four hits and two stolen bases.
“We have tried to keep it positive with Brittany,” Ryman said. “We want to make sure she is not pressing too much. It was good to get her going again at the top of the order and getting some confidence.
“She has been doing a good job of trying to not get too down. It has been a frustrating process for her, especially coming off a great season. Expectations are high early. We talk a lot with her about staying the course and not pressing.”
Kelsey also had a combined four hits for the day. Her triple showed the power that she has been known for her during her college career.
“Kelsey would tell you she is having a slow start,” Ryman said. “But I wouldn't say that.
“When you are not hitting up to your own standards you can start dissecting everything. You want to find out what is wrong and correct it.”
Ryman has urged Kelsey to use practice time to do whatever analysis, extra work and tweaking she wants to do concerning her swing. But when it comes to games, Ryman wants Kelsey to take a different approach.
“We are trying to have her keep it simple,” Ryman said. “Sometimes that is the best thing for her on game days.”
Left-hander Ashley Anderson started game one and ran her record to 7-0. She gave up five hits, walked one and struck out seven. The run she allowed was unearned.
“Ashley is pitching with so much confidence,” Ryman said. “She is owning it.”
Right-hander Tanner Sanders, 7-1, won the second game. She scattered eight hits and gave up four runs, all earned. She walked three and struck out two.
“It was good to see Tanner work through a full seven innings against a good team,” Ryman said. “There are still some things she has to work through. But we saw some good things out of her.
“She worked through a tough seventh inning. She used her defense at times and for the most part we played well behind her.”
The Lady Bisons return to Atlantic Sun play Saturday and Sunday against Florida Gulf Coast at Smith Stadium at Draper Diamond. A doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday and a single game will be played Sunday. Game time each day is 1 p.m.
Right-hander Heather Parker did not see action but will be counted on this weekend.
“We want to make sure our pitchers go out and own it individually and as a team, especially when we have a lead,” Ryman said. “We don’t want to be second guessing and pitching tight. We just want them to go out and do their thing.
“We are moving into another big conference weekend. We want to make sure they are all three ready to go. We could use any of our pitchers at any moment.”