NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball coach Kristin Ryman has talked about needing some help late in the season she has been talking about other teams.
But Thursday afternoon the Lady Bisons got an assist from a Florida rain storm. Due to heavy rain and storms a game between North Florida and Stetson was declared a no contest in the bottom of the fourth inning with Stetson leading 5-0. The game was being played in Jacksonville.
“We had heard there was a heavy chance of rain there,” Ryman said. “We knew it could potentially play a role.
“We were keeping an eye on it. Everything this time of year affects seeding. It was halted one inning from being a complete game so I was a little surprised.”
With the final outcome the Lady Bisons earn second place in the Atlantic Sun Conference with an 18-8 conference record. They will be the No. 2 seed in the A-Sun Tournament which will be played on Lipscomb’s campus at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium May 7-10.
“All six of these teams have played well all year,” Ryman said. “At this point it is about who is going to play the best in the moment. It is not about seeding. Seeding determines home and away.
“We were the fourth seed last year. We had to play the first day and won three games in a row.”
USC Upstate, 19-2, is the No. 1 seed. Stetson is No. 3 at 17-8 followed by Mercer as the No. 4 seed with a 16-8 record. Kennesaw State, 13-12 I the No. 5 seed and Florida Gulf Coast is No. 6 with an 11-13 record.
“The biggest bonus for us is we can save our pitching one more day with the first round bye,” Ryman said. “We will get to sit for a day and watch Stetson and Gulf Coast play and do some more game planning. We will be more rested and even more prepared and ready to go.
“Anything can happen at this point. I think Stetson knows that. They have done a great job all year. I think they will come in as strong as ever.”
Both Upstate and Lipscomb will get a first round bye. The Lady Bisons will play the winner of the Stetson-FGCU game May 8 at 10 a.m.
The first round of the tournament on May 7 will also feature Mercer facing Kennesaw State.
The tournament is double-elimination with the winner receiving the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Lady Bisons will not play again until the tournament. After a two-day break to complete final exams they are back on the field as a team. Wednesday they practiced as a full team. Thursday they played and intra-squad game. Ryman plans another game Friday.
“We felt like physically we needed a couple of days off,” Ryman said. “Having some time off for finals was an added bonus.
“Our goal with the scrimmages is to make sure we are keeping them in game mode. At this time of the year it is important to get live innings and face live pitching. You want to keep them on edge and feel that competition. We want them to do everything they would as if it was real game.”