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February 07, 201512345RHE
Indiana State00100150
Win: SANDERS (2-0) 5.051134
Loss: Alvarez (0-2) 3.074411
Brown (INS) 211010
Holland (INS) 101000
Crissman (INS) 101020
Stone (INS) 301100
Malchow (INS) 201000
NEELY (LIP) 312000
AGUIRRE (LIP) 312201
Softball playing with confidence at the plate and in the field
Saturday, February 7, 2015
By Mark McGee
Softball playing with confidence at the plate and in the field

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In softball when you combine effective pitching, solid defense, consistent hitting and season it with a strong dose of power at the plate you get a winning recipe.

The Lipscomb Lady Bisons drew on all those ingredients Saturday night in the Music City Classic beating IUPUI 8-0 and Indiana State 9-1 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. Both games were called after five-innings due to the run-rule lead.

“Our pitchers are doing a great job of stopping the other team’s momentum and not letting it snowball,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “Our defense doesn’t get in a panic mode. We just look very comfortable and confident defensively and with our pitching.

“It is good for us to get an idea of what it feels like now to be in control with our hitting, our pitching staff and how our defense is playing behind them.”

The Lady Bisons combined for 20 hits in both games, including four home runs and four doubles.

In the win over Indiana State only one batter failed to get a hit as the Lady Bisons connected 12 times.

“I just think we are hitting the ball really well right now,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We have talked a lot about choosing to swing at pitches we are going to be successful on. We have talked a lot about hitting good pitches and knowing what you are looking for in a given situation because it might change.

“I just think we are doing a really good job of hitting the pitches we want to hit. The result of that is some of those power-type hits that we weren’t sure about. We knew we had power, but we didn’t know how it was going to translate into home runs. We are seeing a good number of home runs right now because we are attacking good pitches.”

Ryman has put together a batting order that does not allow an opposing pitcher to take a break.

“At some point, as a pitcher, you want to feel like you have a weaker hitter to face,” Ryman said. “There is just not that hitter in our lineup.

“We had a balanced attack all the way through the Indiana Stat game. That box score looks more like what we are capable of doing. Will we have 12 hits every game? No. But I think we are capable of having high hit numbers every game.

“We are walking. We are getting hit by pitches. We are finding ways to get on base.” 

Ryman surpasses 300 victories: Ryman, in her 10th year as head coach at Lipscomb, added wins 300 and 301 to her resume. She was given a game ball for the IUPUI victory.

When public address announcer Jim Kiser informed the crowd of the milestone the Lady Bisons players responded with a rousing cheer for Ryman. 

Young makes strong debut: Right-hander Kelly Young, a transfer from Arkansas, made a strong debut throwing a no-hitter against IUPUI. Young struck out eight and walked three.

“I am so excited for Kelly,” Ryman said. “She has worked so hard. This has been a great, but challenging, transition for her.

“To come out and have that type of performance in her first game as a Lady Bison was great. She is excited to get a win and get her first game under her belt. What she did speaks volumes for her work ethic and what she does for this team.” 

Sanders gets win No.2: Right-hander Tanner Sanders made her second start and earned her second win against Indiana State. She scattered five hits, all singles, against Indiana State. She struck out four and walked three.

Power from the bottom: Freshman Abby Fenichel and senior Brianne Welch bat eighth and ninth respectively.

Fenichel closed out the Indiana State game with a three-run blast to left center, her third homer of the season. Welch added a three-run shot of her own in the Indiana State game in the fourth inning, her second of the year.

“Abby reminds me a lot of Gracey Aguirre when she was a freshman,” Ryman said. “She maybe shows more power than Gracey did at that point.

“She has quality mechanics and a really great swing. It has been fun to watch her this weekend.”

Ryman says that in most lineups Fenichel and Welch would be batting higher in the order.

“We can’t say enough about what those two are doing,” Ryman said. “It is exciting for us to know how strong those two spots are for us. We know top to bottom we are a strong hitting team right now.” 

Aguirre back in form: Senior right fielder Gracey Aguirre, who ended the 2014 season after 24 games due to an injury, is back in form. She combined for four hits, two RBI and two runs. Included in her hits was a home run against Indiana State. She also had two stolen bases. 

Plocheck goes for the fence: Freshman first baseman Caitlin Plocheck hit her first collegiate home run, a solo shot down the left field line in the fifth against IUPUI. 

Next up: The Lady Bisons close out play in the Music City Classic Sunday at 2:30 against Ball State at Smith Stadium at Draper Diamond.