NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was the quality, not the quantity, of hits that helped the Lipscomb Lady Bisons to a doubleheader sweep of Memphis.
Tuesday afternoon at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium the Lady Bisons won game two 13-1 and opening with a 3-2 win.
They combined for only 12 hits in the two games. The dozen hits included three home runs and two doubles.
“We knew we had power, but we didn’t know how well it was going to translate into home runs this year,” Ryman said. “We haven’t hit a ton of home runs this year, but it was cool for us to hit some against Memphis.
“Hitting is very contagious for this team. Sometimes all we need is one spark…one quality at bat…to jump start what we need to do. Everybody calms down and settles in and the confidence gets going.”
In game two the Lady Bisons scored 12 runs, a new NCAA era record for runs scored in one inning. The Lady Bisons sent 16 batters to the plate.
Baylee Williams slugged a grand slam and an RBI-double in the second to highlight a seven-hit inning. Brianne Welch added a two-run homer as well. Brittany Elmore also added a double to drive in two runs.
“Baylee has power,” Ryman said. “She has an effortless swing. It doesn’t always look the most explosive but she has good hands and when she stays all the way through the ball she can hit as far as anybody.
“In the second inning she ignited us. She had the big hit that blew it open.”
In game one Caitlin Plocheck demonstrated her skills at the plate as she drove in all three runs for the Lady Bisons. In the fourth she brought home two runs with a ground ball single that bounced off of third base into left field. In the sixth she blasted a solo home run to left field with two outs.
“There has been steady improvement from Caitlin,” Ryman said. “She is a very talented hitter. She has had to adjust to this level, but we knew from the get-go she was going to in our lineup.
“She had some struggles early. It is difficult at time to allow players to work through their difficulties but we know what the future holds for her and what her role is going to be down the road. We knew the possibilities of what could happen if we let her work through it.”
Ryman stresses that even with her slow start to the season Plocheck has never wavered in confidence.
“She really could have done that early on but she didn’t,” Ryman said. “It is easy as a freshman to lose confidence when you have the start that she did.
“She has done a tremendous job for us. We moved her up to fifth in the lineup in game two. The quality of her at bats is getting better and better. She is working the count more. She is squaring up more. She is drawing more walks.”
Ryman always projected Plocheck to be hitting in the top five in the lineup. She hopes she stays there, but will wait and see how she progresses.
“We have to get the middle part of our lineup going,” Ryman said. “We see the potential in moments, especially with a lot of hitters in game two. We have to see some consistency.”
The Lady Bisons are 19-20 overall. Memphis drops to 13-20.
May the circle be unbroken: Tanner Sanders, 9-10, went the distance for the Lady Bisons in game two. She allowed only one hit while walking three and striking out one.
Kelly Young, 10-10, started the first game for the Lady Bisons. She struck out nine and walked two in six innings. She scattered four hits including a two-home run by Haleigh Ross.
Sanders came into the circle in relief after one batter had come to the plate in the seventh. She shut down the side and picked up a save.
Hit me: For Abby Fenichel and Mimi Cartwright the hits just keep on coming. Hit by pitch that is.
Fenichel was hit twice in the second inning of game two. She has been hit 13 times this season and continues to build on the all-time program high for being struck by the opposing pitcher.
Cartwright is close behind. She was hit by a pitch once in each game giving her 10 for the season.
Scoreboard blast: For the second time this season Welch hit the scoreboard in right center with a home run.
Stealing away: Elmore stole her 34th base of the season in game one. She is two short of tying her career season high of 36 set he freshman year. She has only been thrown out two times this season on steal attempts.
Multiplier effect: Williams with two hits in game has 10 multiple hit games this season. She trails Paige Neely with 12 and Elmore with 11.
Williams tied Plocheck for most RBI in game this season with five in game two.
Williams leads the team with seven multiple-RBI games.
Getting streaky: Elmore has extended her hitting streak to seven games, her longest of the season.
Elmore has also reached base in the past 18 games, the longest streak on the team this season. Plocheck has reached base in her last 10 games.
History lesson: The Lady Bisons have won their last three meetings with Memphis after losing the first five.
Chattanooga, from the Southern Conference, is 24-8 overall. The Mocs have won their last seven games and are fresh from a 6-4 win over Tennessee Tech.
Taylor Deason, 9-3, leads the pitching staff with a 2.12 earned run average. She has 96 strikeouts in 92.2 innings.
Cori Jennings is 11-4 with a 2.28 ERA. She has 63 strikeouts in 86 innings.
Four regular players are batting in the .300 range led by Sam Taylor with a .380 average. She also leads with 12 doubles.
Nicole Osterman with a .353 average leads 11 home runs and 35 RBI.
Sarah Beth Roberts (.373) and Criket Blanco (.367) round out the .300 hitters.
Wednesday afternoon at 5 the Lady Bisons welcome Chattanooga for a single game.
“UTC is a really good program,” Ryman said. “They have produced and won consistently.
“They play with a lot of confidence. That will be a good test for us to play with a team that plays with the swagger that Chattanooga plays with. We need to go out and match that.”