March 24, 20151234567RHE
Western Kentucky0010521961
Lipscomb0010100233
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: Miranda Kramer (10-4) 7.0321416
Loss: SANDERS (6-8) 5.047472
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Preslie Cruce (WKU) 422100
ELMORE (LIP) 422000
March 24, 20151234567RHE
Western Kentucky0000010160
Lipscomb002100X371
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: YOUNG (7-9) 7.061137
Loss: Janna Scheff (4-2) 3.253310
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Larissa Franklin (WKU) 301000
Brooke Holloway (WKU) 311111
Dani Pugh (WKU) 301000
Lexie Norfleet (WKU) 201010
Kayla Baker (WKU) 301000
Kayti Hanson (WKU) 301000
NEELY (LIP) 312100
WELCH (LIP) 322101
Lineup shifts help give softball a doubleheader split
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
By Mark McGee
Lineup shifts help give softball a doubleheader split

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the Lipscomb Lady Bisons ran on the field in game two of their doubleheader with Western Kentucky fans at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium might have needed a scorecard.

Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman, in an effort to rest third baseman Mimi Cartwright, made some major changes in the infield.

Brianne Welch, who usually plays left or right field, was moved to second base. Baylee Williams shifted from second to shortstop. Paige Neely, who had started every game at shortstop this season, returned to her old position at third base. Kasey Gibson, making her first start of the season, was the designated player.

The changes did the Lady Bisons some good as they beat Western Kentucky 3-1 in the nightcap after losing game one 9-2.

“I joked during the game as I was making out the lineup I felt like I was making it for a fall game,” Ryman said. “In falls games we try people in different spots and give different people some playing time.

“It was a lineup we had yet to use defensively this season. Baylee had worked a little bit at short in practice, but not a ton. Paige has not worked at all at third base this year even though she played it the last two years and did a terrific job. We were hesitant to move her off of short, but we felt like with Westerns lefties and speedy kids we need strong left side.”

When Welch, a senior, joined the Lady Bisons as a freshman she was known for her ability to play almost every position with the exception of pitcher and catcher. Jordan Abell, a backup at second, has been sidelined the past few days with an injury.

“She was the epitome of a utility player,” Ryman said. “We felt like she had more potential in the outfield for us. But there have been off and one moments where we have had her jump into the infield in practice.

“With Jordan out the next best option was Brianne our next best option. Brianne brings quickness to the position. She is very quick laterally.”

The changes did the Lady Bisons some good as they beat Western Kentucky 3-1 in the nightcap after losing game one 9-2.

“I thought all three of them handled it well,” Ryman said. “I thought Western Kentucky was smart dropping some bunts early in the game to test it. That was big for us to handle that early in the game.

The 30 minutes between game one and two were filled with a high level of tension as Ryman and her assistant coaches, Megan Rhodes Smith and J.J. Dillingham worked on a solution.

“As much as we wanted to win game two, we also have conference play this weekend and we will need Mimi to be healthy for that,” Ryman said. “We just felt like this might be what is best to get the win but we felt like we were athletic enough with versatile players to handle it.”

Welch and Neely each had two hits. Welch scored twice, hitting a home run to opposite field with two outs that cleared the scoreboard in right center in the fourth inning. She also scored on a double by Neely to left center in the third. Williams also doubled in the third to score Neely.

“In a lot of ways I felt we played looser,” Ryman said. “It was fun for them to have players in different spots.

“It even proved to us as coaches that this team can handle things like this. It brought us back to the reality of going out and playing and having fun.”

Tanner Sanders, 6-8, started for the Lady Bisons and scattered five hits and allowed seven runs. She walked seven and struck out two.

McCarley Thomas pitched the sixth and seventh innings. She gave up three hits.

Kelly Young, 7-9, pitched a complete game. She gave up five hits while striking out seven and walking three.

The Lady Bisons are 13-17 overall. Western Kentucky is 15-6.

 

QUICK HITS:

  • Brittany Elmore stole three bases in game one tying her season game high of three against Akron Feb. 28. She has 27 for the season which breaks her 26 she stole last season. She is only nine thefts away from tying her career season high 36 in 2013.
  • Neely ended an eight-game hitting streak in game one. She walked, however, and combined with her two hits in game two she has now reached base in her last 10 games. 
  • Neely leads the team with nine multi-hit games.
  • In the first RPI report of the season the Lady Bisons are rated 75th. Western Kentucky is 33rd.

 

UP NEXT:

The Lady Bisons return to Atlantic Sun Conference play this weekend when they travel to Highland Heights, Kentucky to play Northern Kentucky. A doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday at noon. A single game will close out the series Sunday at noon.