GULF SHORES, Ala. – The hard luck continued for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team Saturday in a 4-3 loss to Florida A&M followed by a 6-4 decision to Louisiana Tech in the second day of the Sand Dollar Classic.
The Lady Bisons, 0-4, play the final game of the tournament at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex Sunday at noon against Southern Miss. FAMU is 3-0. Louisiana Tech is 3-1.
“I don’t think anyone of us expected to be 0-4 at this point,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “It is disappointing. We have to find a way to click the switch as quick as we can. The girls are still in good spirits, but they have to dig in and fight.
“There are a lot of little things that go into it – our discipline at the plate, pitchers finishing innings and the defense executing and making plays behind the pitcher. At the end of the day we are not putting it all together.”
Louisiana Tech 6, Lipscomb 4
Louisiana Tech struck in the first inning on a single to right field off of Lipscomb starter Kelly Young. Tech would add one more in the fourth and four in the fifth, including a solo home run to left field by Katie Smith.
Abby Fenichel was the big hitter of the game for Lipscomb with a double and a three-run homer over the center field fence in a four-run rally in the sixth.
“Right now we have to get into the gear we found in the sixth inning sooner,” Ryman said. “We saw what kind of fight this team is capable of in that inning. Now we need that to carry over.”
Sarah Higgins also had a double for the Lady Bisons who finished with five hits.
Young pitched 4.2 innings and gave up six runs, five earned. She scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four.
Tanner Sanders came on in relief in the fifth. She walked the first batter she faced, but ended the inning on a strikeout.
Sanders did not allow a hit or run in 1.1 innings. She walked two in addition to the strikeout.
Brittany Elmore led off the sixth with an infield hit. Kasey Gibson singled to the shortstop. Baylee Williams reached base on a throwing error by the shortstop to load the bases with no outs.
Caitlin Plocheck grounded to the shortstop, scoring Elmore from third. With two runners on the stage was set for Fenichel’s homer.
FAMU 4, Lipscomb 3
Freshman right-hander Mandy Jordan made her first collegiate start against FAMU. She struck out the first two batters she faced, but gave up a run in the first inning.
The Lady Bisons tied the game in the bottom of the first. Gibson, with the first of her team-leading and career game-high three hits, singled and stole second base. She scored on a ground out by Plocheck.
Lipscomb took a 2-1 lead in the second as Elmore singled to shortstop to drive in a run.
In the third FAMU struck for a second run on a two-out double to right center by Toni Anderson.
Jordan got an out in the fourth, but allowed a solo home run to left field to Kieffi Myrick to give FAMU a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth back-to-back doubles by the Rattlers after two outs produced another run as Anderson got her second double and second RBI.
Sanders entered the game for Lipscomb and got the out to close the inning.
With one out in the seventh Elmore hit a single to the shortstop. Gibson followed with a double over the left fielder’s head to score Elmore from first.
Gibson also led the Lady Bisons with two stolen bases, also a career game high. Elmore added one stolen base.
“We were really proud of Kasey,” Ryman said. “She started clicking at the plate.
“We have to get the middle part of our order clicking. We are having trouble stringing hits together to create a big inning.”
Jordan threw 4.2 innings. She gave up five hits and walked two. She posted seven strikeouts. Three of the four runs scored were earned.
Sanders pitched 2.1 scoreless innings. She allowed two hits and struck out one. She did not walk a batter.
“This team is very talented,” Ryman said. “We have a lot of youth. We are making mistakes right now. We have to overcome that.
“We continue to believe in this team, but we believe these were winnable games. If you don’t execute the other team is going to take it away from you. They are tough lessons for us early in the season. We have to get better.”