NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This time around for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons it wasn’t so much how they finished as it was about how they got there.
In the first and fifth innings Sunday afternoon against North Florida the Lipscomb Lady Bisons left the bases loaded. In the third inning they stranded two.
Those runners left on base played into the outcome as the Lady Bisons, despite a valiant comeback effort, fell short in a 7-6 loss to Atlantic Sun foe North Florida at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.
“We can’t leave bases loaded twice in the first five innings,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “That was a killer.
“We did a good job late in the game with runners on, but not early in the game. It stinks that six runs is not enough. I think we should have capitalized on some things earlier in the game but we didn’t.”
The Lady Bisons swept a doubleheader Saturday with wins of 6-1 and 2-1 against UNF. Lipscomb is 21-22 overall, 7-5 in the A-Sun. North Florida is 25-23 overall, 7-8 in the conference.
“That is a positive takeaway,” Ryman said. “We are at the point in the season where every game matters.
“We have to make sure we are taking advantage of our opportunities. We can’t let them slip by.”
Ryman is at a loss to sometimes explain why certain things happen to her team, but she pointed to a lack of execution at key moments as a culprit.
“The last part the game we executed really well, but the first half of the game we didn’t,” Ryman said. “I thought our pitching was good. We were keeping them off the boards.”
North Florida struck first with a run in the fourth. They added one more in the fifth, but the Lady Bisons came back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning as a single by Abby Fenichel brought Brittany Elmore home.
In the sixth North Florida scored four runs on a two-run double by Stephanie Schmidt and a two-run homer from Alex Arciola for a 6-1 lead.
The Lady Bisons started chipping away at the lead with two runs in the sixth on a double to right field by Elmore that scored Baylee Williams who reached on a single and Brianne Welch who reached base on a walk.
North Florida added another run in the top of the seventh for a 7-3 lead. But once again the Lady Bisons struck back.
Abby Fenichel led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. Becca Dean entered the game as a pinch-runner for Fenichel. She scored on a fielder’s choice. Williams slammed a two-run homer with one out, but that was the last scoring for the Lady Bisons.
Fenichel and Neely each had three hits as the Lady Bisons finished with nine. Williams connected for two hits.
Kelly Young started for the Lady Bisons in the circle and lasted 5.2 innings. She scattered five hits and allowed six runs, all earned. She struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Tanner Sanders relieved and pitched 1.1 innings. She gave up three hits and one earned run. She struck out one and did not walk a batter.
“We loved the fight at the end,” Ryman said. “We were taking advantage of opportunities. We put some things together. We got some big hits. We did a great job over the last couple of innings.”
- The Lady Bisons end the weekend in third place in the A-Sun behind USC Upstate in first and Kennesaw State in second.
- With her three hits in the 7-6 loss Neely has 14 multiple-hit games. She leads the team in the category.
This marked the fourth time this season she has collected three hits in a game.
- Williams extended her team lead with her eighth multiple-RBI game.
- Elmore has reached base in the last 22 games and has an 11-game hitting streak. Both are the longest streaks on the team.
The Lady Bisons have a non-conference game with Tennessee Tech planned for April 15 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. Game time is 5 p.m.
They resume A-Sun play Saturday and Sunday when they travel to USC Upstate, which has already qualified for one of the six berths in the A-Sun Tournament.
“We are fighting for a spot just like everyone else,” Ryman said. “We can’t depend on someone else to help us. We want to be able to control our own destiny. Sweeping the North Florida series would have been big.’