MOBILE, Ala. – The Lipscomb softball team split its games in the opening day of the Mardi Gras Invitational hosted by South Alabama.
Friday afternoon the Lady Bisons rallied in the seventh for a 2-1 win over Butler. They closed out the day at Jaguar Stadium by jumping out to a 5-0 lead over Oklahoma State before falling 9-5.
“We saw some really great things at times today, but it is just finding them consistently,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “It is a long weekend. We have to fight back.
“We are learning a lot about our team. We have to play our game and go out and attack the other team. We can’t ever get comfortable. We want to shut the door and finish strong.”
The Lady Bisons are back in action Saturday with an early wake-up call for a 9 a.m. contest with Evansville. At 11:15 the Lady Bisons will face host South Alabama.
“Over the last several years South Alabama has been one of the top mid-majors in the country,” Ryman said. “They certainly are a tough opponent as a host.
“They are team knocking on the door of a Super Regional and they have Super Regional talent. They always hit well. They always pitch well. They always have great athletes. They are rated in the top 25 and are well-deserving of that. They are going to be a big challenge for us.”
Evansville is not a stranger for the Lady Bisons.
“Evansville already has a win this season over UAB,” Ryman said. “We played them last year and beat them but they are a much improved team this season. They are giving themselves a chance to win.”
In the Oklahoma State game the Lady Bisons were powered early by two-run homers from Laura Dukes and Gracey Aguirre.
Brittany Elmore led the Lady Bisons with four hits, including her first double of the season. Dukes added two hits.
The Lady Bisons scored two runs in the second and three in the third, but were shut down the rest of the way.
Oklahoma State struck for three runs in the third, one in the fourth and five in the fifth.
“The momentum just kind of shifted,” Ryman said. “It was frustrating.”
Tanner Sanders started for the Lady Bisons. She scattered nine hits and allowed seven runs, six earned. She struck out six and walked three in four innings.
McCarley Thomas relieved and walked three and allowed two runs, both earned.
Kelly Young, the winning pitcher in the Butler game, threw the final two innings. She did not give up a hit or a run. She struck out two and walked two.
“It was not our best pitching effort,” Ryman said. “Our pitching was really sharp for three or four innings but went downhill from there.
“You feel like from a defensive perspective that if your offense is scoring five runs that should be enough to win a game.”
In the Butler game the Lady Bisons struggled to hit and score, but only struck out three times. Brianne Welch put down a bunt that won the game in the seventh.
“Kelly did a great job of keeping us in the game,” Ryman said. “We could get anything going offensively. We only had a few strikeouts, but we weren’t putting the ball in play solid the way we wanted to do.
“We struggled through the entire game. We get into the seventh and had the last at bat and were able to squeeze in a run and score the second one on an error. We found way to win late. Brianne put a great bunt down.”
The loss drops the Lady Bisons record to 4-2 on the season. It was the first win, after three losses, for Oklahoma State.
The Lady Bisons close out the tournament Sunday at 10 a.m. in a rematch with Butler.
- Dukes’ home run was her first of the season. Mimi Cartwright hit her first double of the season in the Oklahoma State game.
- Baylee Williams has a five-game hitting streak. Paige Neely ended a five-game streak.
- Freshman Abby Fenichel batted in the sixth spot in the order against Butler and in the fifth spot against Oklahoma State after batting eighth in the first four games of the season.
- Freshman Caitlin Plocheck filled the eighth spot in both games.
- Elmore’s four hits are a season game high for the Lady Bisons.
- Thomas made her first appearance in the circle this season. It was her second career appearance.