TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Lipscomb softball team struck first, but could nothold back No. 5 Michigan 7-1 Friday afternoon in their second game in the Bama Bash at Rhoads Stadium.
The Lady Bisons scored one run in the second inning. Mimi Cartwright opened with a double down the left field line. She would later score when Brianne Welch reached base on a fielding error by Michigan’s shortstop.
Michigan capitalized on an error to tie the game in the third.
Two solo home runs in the fourth gave the Wolverines a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth Michigan added four more runs on three hits including a two-RBI single.
Lipscomb right-hander Tanner Sanders is 3-3 after the loss. She pitched 4.2 innings and gave up eight hits and seven runs, six of them earned. She struck out three and walked six.
Kelly Young, another right-hander, pitched the final 2.1 innings. She did not give up a hit or a run. She struck out two.
“Michigan hits well, pitches well and runs well,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “They have a well-coached team. They are easily one of the top five to 10 teams in the country every year.
“They have a great combination of power and speed. They have the table setters at the top of the order and the power hitters in the middle. They are tough all the way around.”
The Lady Bisons are 5-6. Michigan is 9-1, with an eight-game winning streak.
“Going in we didn’t expect to score very many runs,” Ryman said. “But would we be able to outscore other people and would we be able to hold the other team down enough offensively to give our team a chance.”
Earlier Friday afternoon the LadyBisons fell 11-1 Friday to James Madison University in five innings.
James Madison opened with two runs in the first and added one in the third. James Madison closed out the game in the fifth with eight runs including an inside the park grand slam.
The Lady Bisons scored their lone run in the fourth inning as Laura Dukes slammed a single up the middle to score Cartwright.
“James Madison is a team that pitches extremely well,” Ryman said. “They have a good combination of lefties and righties.
“They are the type of team that does a lot of things well and poses a big challenge because of their athleticism. They have a quality team.
Brittany Elmore was the only other Lipscomb player to get a hit.
Young started on the mound for the Lady Bisons. She gave up 11 hits and seven runs, all earned. She struck out six and walked four.
McCarley Thomas, also a right-hander, relieved in the fifth. She recorded her first strikeout of the year, but gave up two hits and four runs, all earned.
Young slips to 2-3 with the loss.
“We have talked about scheduling tough and continuing to increase our RPI,” Ryman said. “While this tournament is on the extreme of scheduling tough I think it is important for us as coaches to have a good feel about where we stack up going into conference play.
“What the things we need to work on? How do we find a way to consistently reach that next level? We talk about the next level a lot with our team. We understand it. Now we have to put it into action a little bit more.”
•Aguirre was the only Lipscomb player to have more than one hit in a game Friday. She had two hits against Michigan. Aguirre has multiple hits in four games tying Paige Neely for the lead.
•Dukes played her first game at first base this season in the Michigan game replacing Caitlin Plocheck who failed to start for the first time.
•Neely hit what appeared to be a double to left center in the James Madison game. It was ruled, however, that she failed to touch first base before heading to second and was ruled out.
•This was the first win for James Madison this season where it did not shut out the opposition.
Saturday the Bama Bash continues with the Lady Bisons meeting Michigan again at 11 a.m. They will have a rematch with James Madison at 6 p.m.
The Lady Bisons are scheduled to close the tournament Sunday at 1:30 against No. 3-rated Alabama, the tournament host.
Weather could be an issue Saturday and Sunday.