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April 05, 201412345RHE
East Tennessee State10000122
Win: PARKER (8-3) 5.021137
Loss: CARTER (10-7) 3.211101002
WOLFF (ETSU) 301000
BAIRD (ETSU) 301100
ELMORE (LIP) 322000
NEELY (LIP) 312100
COTHRON (LIP) 312501
Cothron slams softball past ETSU
Saturday, April 5, 2014
By Mark McGee
Cothron slams softball past ETSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons unleashed the power.

Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic Sun softball doubleheader at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium they combined for 19 runs and 18 hits including three home runs, two doubles and a triple.

“Hitting for this group is very contagious,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “Today was an example of that.

“It started with the first inning of the first game. I am impressed with what we came out and did.”

In game one against ETSU the Lady Bisons prevailed 9-0. They won the nightcap with a 10-1 effort. Both games were called after ETSU batted in the fifth inning due to the run-rule.

“It was good to see us kind of come out loose,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “Any time we score early we see a different approach from everybody.

“In the first game we took advantage of walks. In the second game we just hit and hit and hit. We found ways to get key hits with runners on. That was something we have struggled with at times lately.”

The Lady Bisons are 30-9 overall, 10-6 in the A-Sun.  ETSU is 15-20, 4-10 in the conference. This marks the sixth straight season the Lady Bisons have reached 30 or more victories.

Ryman had to sit out the first game as a result of being ejected March 30 at USC Upstate.

The two teams meet again Sunday at 1 for a single game. It is “Strike Out Cancer” day, to promote breast cancer awareness. The Lady Bisons will be wearing pink jerseys. Fans are encouraged to wear pink. The first 100 fans will receive a free pink T-shirt.

“We have told our players not to come out and just expect the same result,” Ryman said. “We have told them we want them to come out and make it happen.

“We want them to attack early again. We have to go out and take it and not let teams hang around.”



Lucky 13

The Lady Bisons gave up a run in the first inning, but ETSU would not score again on right-hander Heather Parker.

Parker was bolstered by 13 hits from her teammates. The most prolific RBI producer in game two was Rena’ Cothron who wears No.13 and bats seventh.

In the third inning the Lady Bisons exploded for seven runs. Brianne Welch, in the No. 9 spot, started the inning off with a home run to right center. Brittany Elmore singled and scored on a triple to right field by Paige Neely. Kelsey Cartwright singled to drive in Neely.

But the big hit of the inning, the game and the afternoon was Cothron’s grand slam over the right field fence.  It was the first of her career.

Cothron added her fifth RBI of the game and her seventh for the day in the fourth on a single.

“Rena’ just continues to get clutch hits,” Ryman said. “I thought she had great at bats at Upstate. She continued it earlier this week against UAB.

“I am glad to see her really clicking right now. Brianne got a home run. Getting the bottom of the order going is going to be important for us down the stretch.”

The Lady Bisons added three runs in the fourth. Elmore led off with a double. The Lady Bisons also added five singles.

Parker, 8-3, allowed only two hits. She struck out seven and walked three.

“Heather looked like a different pitcher late in the game than she did at the beginning,” Ryman said. “She was able to relax a little bit more as we scored runs.”


Setting the tone

In game one Kristen Sturdivant set the tone for the Lady Bisons with a three-run home to left center in the first inning. She has 36 runs batted in for the season, a new personal high breaking her mark of 32 last season.

“Kristen’s home run was huge to get us on track for the whole day,” Ryman said.

In the second inning Elmore singled to the shortstop. She stole second and third and scored on an error by ETSU’s third baseman. Elmore had three stolen bases in the game.

In the fourth the Lady Bisons took advantage of four walks and two hits, including a two-RBI double to center field by Cothron to score five runs and seal the game.

Left-hander Ashley Anderson improved to 14-2, setting a new career high for wins in a season. She had 13 in 2012. Anderson struck out four, walked one and hit one batter. She scattered four hits.

“Ashley found a way to make good pitches,” Anderson said. “She put our defense in a good position.”


Defensive shifts

With shortstop Bridgette Begle getting some rest time the Lady Bisons had a different look in the infield. Mimi Cartwright moved from second to third. Paige Neely played shortstop. Jordan Abell took over at second making her first career start.

She also got her first hit of the season with a single in game one.

“Jordan is a scrappy player,” Ryman said. “She is going to play hard. She is going to get after it. She did a nice job all the way around.”

Ryman admits it is tough to make defensive changes late in the season, but she was happy with how the infield handled the changes. Mimi Cartwright had only practiced a couple of days at third. Neely was playing her third straight game at shortstop.

“All three of them did a nice job and that helps tremendously,” Ryman said. “When we hit the ball well it takes the pressure off in every area.”