RALEIGH, N.C. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team needs more hits and fewer misses.
For the second game in a row the Lady Bisons went to extra innings before losing.
Saturday afternoon they fell 3-2 in nine innings to Fordham in a rain-shortened second day of the Hyatt Place Invitational hosted by North Carolina State at Dail Stadium. The Lady Bisons managed only five hits, all singles.
“One area where we have struggled lately is driving people in, advancing runners and getting those key hits when we need to get them,” Ryman said. “I think we are much better hitters than we have shown. We still feel, as a coaching staff that we are taking steps forward.
“There were so many bright spots in this game. But our offense is kind of stalling right now. We are swinging and missing more than we have been. We are facing very good pitching. We have challenged them to be better with mental adjustments and physical adjustments at the plate. We were right in this game and had a chance to win but we had 12 strikeouts.”
The Lady Bisons scored first with a run in the first inning. Brittany Elmore led off with a bunt single and moved to second in a ground out by Paige Neely. Baylee Williams singled through the left side to send Elmore to third. Williams stole second and Elmore scored on a throwing error on the play.
Fordham tied the game in the second won an RBI-double to left center by pitcher Rachel Gillen.
Neither team would score again until the ninth. In the top of the inning under international tie-breaker rules Lipscomb’s Becca Dean was placed on second base to start the inning as a pinch-runner for Mimi Cartwright. Dean scored on a two-out single up the middle by pitcher Kelly Young.
Young made her first appearances at the plate this season going 1-for-3 with one run batted in. She batted seventh in the order. The move allowed Gracey Aguirre to take a day off.
“We needed to give Gracey a break,” Ryman said. “She has been battling some stuff physically. We are trying to be smart with her right now.
“We felt like our next best option as far as hitting was Kelly. She immediately brings a power presence. She hits every day in practice and in pregame. She does everything with our hitters on an everyday basis. She has great potential at the plate. It has been tricky to get her bat into the lineup.”
Fordham struck back in the bottom of the ninth with a pair of runs for the victory on three hits and an error.
Young, 4-7, allowed 10 hits with only one for extra bases in 8.2 innings. One of the three runs were earned. She struck out five and walked one.
Gillen, 7-3, went the distance for Fordham. She gave up five hits while striking out 12 and walking one.
Despite the lack of offense Ryman did see three bright spots in Brianne Welch, Paige Neely and Mimi Cartwright at the plate.
“Brianne swung and missed tonight but she didn’t have any misses with two strikes,” Ryman said. “She was able deep in counts to find ways to put the ball in play. She made some good things happen with her bat. She had quality at bats.
“Paige put the ball in play every at bat which is not unlike her. Mimi put the ball in play every at bat. They were the only three.”
The Lady Bisons are 9-13. Fordham is 11-8.
- This was the third extra-inning game for the Lady Bisons this season. The previous two were eight innings. On March 1 they beat Dayton 3-1. Friday they lost to No. 25-rated North Carolina State 1-0.
- The absence of Aguirre leaves a hole in the middle of the batting order for the Lady Bisons in the area of power hitting.
“Losing Gracey for one game or multiple games is a big loss,” Ryman said. “She is one of our best hitters. Gracey is a key part to the middle of our order. Not to have her for a game is a big deal.”
The Lady Bisons close out the tournament Sunday morning at 8:30 against Binghamton.