RALEIGH, N.C. – Every game is important, but the Lipscomb Lady Bisons have to take the hard lessons learned in a rugged preconference schedule and turn those setbacks into success in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Lady Bisons started out in command but ended up losing 7-5 to Binghamton Sunday morning in the final day of the Hyatt Place Invite hosted by North Carolina State. They lost all four games in the tournament, but they have to put those defeats behind them as Stetson visits Saturday and Sunday for an A-Sun opening series.
“As you get into conference play you are playing everybody three times,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “It is harder to beat someone two out of three much less all three times.
“You have to find ways to tweak you play in every single game. In conference play everyone is going to know everything about us. By day two, everybody knows your game plan. Can you find a way to tweak your game plan to make your team a little more unpredictable whether it be pitching or being a smarter hitter than the day before?”
Playing a rugged early season schedule, which featured top 25 teams Missouri and North Carolina State Friday, is what Ryman believes will make the Lady Bisons stronger in April and May.
“That is the next level we are trying to get to in the conference,” Ryman said. “We want our players to keep it simple, but you want them to be smart players. You want your hitters to go up to the plate with a plan. You want your pitchers to execute in the circle.”
The Lady Bisons jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Baylee Williams singled up to drive in Brittany Elmore and Paige Neely. Williams scored on a fielder’s choice by Caitlin Plocheck.
Lipscomb pitcher Tanner Sanders retired the side in the first three innings. But in the fourth she gave up three hits including a double and a two-run homer as Binghamton the game 3-3.
The Lady Bisons regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth with two runs. Elmore brought in Brianne Welch on a sac fly to left. Neely brought Dee Baddley home with a single through the left side.
In the seventh Binghamton countered with a two-out grand slam by Sydney Harbaugh off of Lipscomb reliever Kelly Young.
Sanders started the game for the Lady Bisons. She gave up four runs, all earned, on three hits. She struck out four and walked two.
Young relieved in the seventh and took the loss dropping her record to 4-8. She gave up two hits and three earned runs. She faced five batters and struck out one.
Neely and Mimi Cartwright each had two hits for the Lady Bisons. Neely hit her ninth double of the season and Plocheck also added a double. The Lady Bisons outhit Binghamton 9-5.
The Lady Bisons are 9-14. Binghamton evened its record at 9-9.
- Elmore stole her 17th base. She has not been thrown out this season.
- Young was the designated player for the second game in a row and is 2-for-6 with one RBI overall.
- Elmore and Neely are tied for the team lead with .324 batting averages.
- Welch stole her eighth base of the season in the Binghamton game, tying her career season high of eight set in 2014.
- This was the first time Lipscomb and Binghamton had met in a softball game.
The Lady Bisons enter spring break this week. They return to Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium this weekend for a three-game A-Sun series with Stetson. The two teams play a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday and a single game at 1 Sunday.