NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Throughout history battles and games have been lost for a failure to press an advantage.
Such was the case for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons Sunday afternoon in their Atlantic Sun softball game with Stetson at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. The Lady Bisons led 2-0 after two innings and pitcher Kelly Young headed into the sixth inning with a no-hitter.
But things changed late as Stetson rallied late to take a 6-3 victory in eight innings. With the win Stetson won the opening three-game, A-Sun series for both teams 2-1.
“We have to finish games mentally as well as physically,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “Winning in extra innings is about the fight you have in you. You are getting near the end of a game. It is the end of a weekend and everybody is tired.
“Conference series are mentally exhausting. We have to stay tough. When we stay in attack mode we are really good. When we get in defense mode is when teams start sneaking up on us or like Stetson keep hanging around.”
The Lady Bisons opened with runs in both the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead.
In the circle right-hander Kelly Young kept the Hatters in check with no hits allowed in the first five innings. But Brittany Hawn opened the sixth with a home run to left center that ended Young’s no-hitter and shutout attempts in one swing.
Stetson would strike again in the seventh with a long ball as Amanda Grimaldo connected for a two-out homer over the left field fence to take a 3-2 lead.
The Lady Bisons would fight back with a run in the bottom of the seventh as pinch-runner Becca Dean scored on an infield single by Brittany Elmore.
“Once Stetson did take the lead (3-2) we did a good job of coming back in the bottom of the seventh,” Ryman said. “That is something we haven’t seen consistently this season as we have in years past.
“That showed a lot about how far we have come this year as a team. But then we have to take it back out there on defense. Kelly had a tremendous series and a tremendous day for six innings.”
In the eighth Stetson struck again with a long ball as Demi Meza hit a three-run shot over the trees beyond the centerfield fence with what proved to be the winning runs.
Young, 6-9, scattered five hits. She walked one and struck out five.
Chelsea Hostetler went the distance for Stetson. She gave up seven hits, but only one was for extra bases. Lipscomb catcher Abby Fenichel hit a double to center in the second inning. Hostetler, 12-3, struck out three and walked one.
“We have to finish stronger,” Ryman said. “We have to see more mental toughness with our team. We have to continue to make adjustments throughout a game.
“We have come far, but we are still not where we want to be yet. The moments late in games are where we need to know how good we are and trust in our preparations and stay confident in what we are doing.”
The Lady Bisons are 12-16, 1-2 in the conference. Stetson is 19-7, 2-1 in the A-Sun.
- Elmore stole her 24th base of the season, but she was thrown out in her attempt for No. 25. It was the first time this season she has been caught stealing a base.
- Neely led the Lady Bisons with two hits. She leads the team with eight multiple-hit games and also has the longest hitting streak of the season with hits in her last eight games.
- There were technical difficulties that prevented the playing of the “National Anthem” before the start of the game. Both teams, lined up on the first and third base lines, sang the song a cappella to the delight of the crowd.
The Lady Bisons have little time to dwell on this weekend. Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. they are scheduled to face Western Kentucky from Conference-USA in a doubleheader at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.