NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons wanted a rematch with Stetson.
After No. 3-seeded Stetson scored four runs in the fifth inning for a 4-1 win over No. 6 seed Florida Gulf Coast Wednesday night they got what they wanted. The Lady Bisons, the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament, will play Stetson at 10 a.m. Thursday morning at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.
Lipscomb, 39-11, drew a first round bye in the tournament. Stetson is 35-12.
Stetson, on its home field, won two of three games from Lipscomb April 18 and 19. The Hatters won 1-0 in game one and fell 9-2 in game two. In the third game the two teams battled for 13 innings before Stetson prevailed 4-3.
“I think we are excited about a rematch,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “That was one of the closest matchups we had this season.
“Both teams pitch well, hit well and have good defense. It is going to be a lot like the first time around. The team that breaks through with key hits with runners in scoring position and the team that can take advantage of errors on the other team’s part is going to be the team that is going to win it.”
Lipscomb left-hander Ashley Anderson, 19-4, recorded two of her losses in the Stetson series. She pitched 12.1 innings in the 4-3 loss and also was in the circle for the 1-0 defeat. She pitched a combined 19 innings in those two games, striking out 14 and giving up only two earned runs.
Stetson is expected to counter with Meredith Owen; winner of Wednesday’s opening round game. She is 23-7 and leads the conference in wins, earned run average, innings pitched and complete games.
“We had a good practice Wednesday,” Ryman said. “It was short, but we are energized.”
The Lady Bisons face a major challenge heading into the Stetson game. First Team All-Conference selection Kelsey Cartwright was injured late in practice this week and will not play in right field. Two options to replace Cartwright in the lineup are Dee Baddley and Becca Dean.
“Both of them defensively will do the job fine,” Ryman said. “Offensively, we need someone who is going to put the ball in play and who will be composed. At this stage of the game we need somebody to come in and have good, quality at bats.”
Baddley has not started this season, but has played in 12 games. Dean has made 19 appearances with one start.
“Right now, we have to get some players to step up offensively around Kelsey’s absence. I think we care capable of that. We didn’t get to this point because of any one player and that is nothing against Kelsey and what she has done this year. She would say the same thing.
“We are a team, not a bunch of individuals. I think this team is confident about what we can do as a group. At this point it just about executing and doing what we do.”
Some interesting season highlights for the Lady Bisons:
Lipscomb season highlights:
- The Lady Bisons, 39-11, have not dropped lower than 35 in the RPI this season. Their highest ranking was 28th. They have been rated 33rd for the past two weeks. The previous high in the history of the program is 36th.
- The Lady Bisons have won 11 of their last 13 games.
- This is their eighth consecutive A-Sun Tournament appearance.
- They have advanced to the A-Sun Tournament Championship game three of the last four seasons. They won their only tournament title in 2010 beating USC Upstate. Last season they finished runner-up in the tournament after losing to Upstate twice in the championship round.
- The Lady Bison have received Top 25 votes in the two main polls for multiple weeks, with one vote in each this week.
- They are ranked in the top 20 in the NCAA in team W-L percentage (17th, .780).
- They are in the top 30 in the NCAA in runs scored per game (28th, 6.0).
- They are tied for the second most wins in a season in the history of the program with 39 (set in 2009).
- This is the sixth year in a row with 30 or more wins.