FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons will head into the Atlantic Sun Championship next week riding a seven-game win streak.
Friday afternoon the Lady Bisons held on for a 3-2 win over Florida Gulf Coast to complete the series sweep.
“We weren’t quite as sharp as we have been,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We struggled offensively to get things going, but we did enough to win the game.
“Our team overall is playing well right now. Games in the conference tournament are going to be close. We have to find a way to grind it out. I thought we did a good job of that today.”
The Lady Bisons scored one run each in the first, third and fifth innings.
Gracey Aguirre led the way at the plate with a pair of hits including an RBI single to right center in the first to score Paige Neely.
In the third Laura Dukes singled to left center to bring Mimi Cartwright home.
“That was huge,” Ryman said. “We had several two-out hits and two-out RBI in the series. To get those key hits with two outs changes the game.
“It gives you an extra bit of cushion. And we needed every bit of cushion that we could get in this game.”
The Lady Bisons closed out their scoring in the fifth when Caitlin Plocheck singled to center to send Neely home with her second run of the game.
The Lady Bisons connected for six hits off of Florida Gulf Coast starter Shelby Morgan, 7-10. She struck out three and walked two.
“Shelby did a nice job for them,” Ryman said. “She was able to keep us off balance.
“Her defense played well behind her. We struggled offensively to get the big hits and get anything going. What we got was important.”
Kelly Young, 16-13, opened in the circle for the Lady Bisons. She pitched four innings and allowed three hits and two runs, both earned. She struck out five and walked two.
The two runs for Florida Gulf Coast were scored in the third inning on a double to left center by Alexis Ross.
“Kelly got into some jams and gave up a couple of runs,” Ryman said. “Overall she wasn’t as sharp, but she did a nice job and still kept us in the game.
“Her last inning was really great in the fourth with three up and three down. But we went ahead and made a change because we thought that was as far as Kelly was going to be able to go.”
Tanner Sanders closed out the game for her second save. She did not allow a hit or a run in two innings. She walked one batter and struck out one.
“Pitching-wise they both did a nice job and complemented each other well, even though they weren’t quite as sharp as they were Thursday,” Ryman said.
The Lady Bisons finished the regular season 29-23, 14-6 in the A-Sun. Florida Gulf Coast ends its season 23-30, 5-15 in the conference.
- Elmore stole three bases in the first two games of the Florida Gulf Coast series. She has 42 for the year and is the first Lady Bisons player to steal 40 or more bases in a season.
She is fourth in the nation with an average of .82 per game.
- Elmore did not reach base in Friday’s game. She ended two streaks. She had hits in her previous 15 games and had reached base in her previous 30. Both are team highs.
- Young has broken the 200 strike outs barrier with 204.
- Aguirre has multiple hits in 12 games.
- The Lady Bisons are remaining in Fort Myers to prepare for the tournament. They will take Saturday off and then return to practice Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The Atlantic Sun Championship is scheduled May 6-9 in Fort Myers. The Lady Bisons are the No. 2 seed and have drawn a first round bye along with No. 1 seed USC Upstate.
“This is the first year in three years we have been on the road for a conference tournament,” Ryman said. “The only players who know what that feels like are our seniors.”