ROSEMONT, Ill. – Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman was happy to see the middle part of the order show some power, but her biggest concern is why it takes so long for her team to score.
The Lady Bisons started the Total Control Sports Invitational on a strong note with a 7-2 win over Quinnipiac Friday, but they didn’t get on the board until the fourth inning.
“We have had teams before that have started slow like this in games,” Ryman said. “It is matter of being passive. We have stressed we want them to go out and be aggressive and make things happen early.”
Lipscomb spotted Quinnipiac two runs in the first inning, but starter Kelly Young pitched shutout softball the rest of the way at The Dome at Rosemont.
It was the second win in a row for the Lady Bisons, 2-4. It was the season opener for Quinnipiac.
The Lady Bisons will face IUPUI Saturday morning at 9 followed by Iowa at 11:30.
Lipscomb’s game with Illinois-Chicago was canceled due to severe winds which have forced the evacuation of the dome.
The Lady Bisons were scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. Baylee Williams walked with two outs and moved to second on a wild pitch. Williams scored when Sarah Higgins singled through the left side to cut the Quinnipiac advantage to 2-1.
In the fifth inning Lipscomb struck again. Destinee Brewer singled to shortstop and went to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. She then moved to third on a wild pitch. Brewer scored to tie the game at 2-2 when Kasey Gibson reached base on an error by the shortstop.
“That is about manufacturing runs,” Ryman said. “We need to do more of that.”
Caitlin Plocheck would put the Lady Bisons ahead to stay with a two-run homer with two outs that also scored Gibson for a 4-2 lead.
Abby Fenichel would follow with a double but was left on base in the fifth.
In the sixth the Lady Bisons got some insurance runs. Higgins tripled to center field. Riley Brown walked and was replaced by Kiley Aller as a pinch-runner. Khayla Green hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Higgins.
Brittany Elmore closed out the scoring for the Lady Bisons with a two-run home run to right center that scored Aller.
“We had a lot of big hits at the end of the game and as a coach you love to see that,” Ryman said. “But we are not going to get that every single game. We have to find ways to manufacture runs without having to always rely on the big hit. That is important.”
Higgins, Fenichel and Brewer each had two hits as the Lady Bisons finished with eight. Four of the hits were for extra bases.
“We firmly believe the hit numbers are going to come,” Ryman said. “But I feel like it is more important to have quality at bats and that doesn’t always mean you are going to get a hit.
“There are so many things you can do that are productive in a game without getting a hit. You can draw a walk. You can lay down a sacrifice bunt. You can score a runner from third with less than two outs. We are trying to put more of an emphasis on that than just getting hits.”
Young struck out 10, scattered five hits and walked five for her first win of the season. She is 1-2.
“Kelly struggled in the first inning,” Ryman said. “Her walk numbers were a little high in the first couple of innings. But I thought she did a nice job and the team did a nice job of recovering.
“A huge part of the game was Kelly settled in after the first inning and really took over. She put them in a position where they were having trouble getting anything going the rest of the game. We saw more of what we typically see from Kelly after the first inning.”
- Elmore has a hit in every game this season for a team-leading six-game streak.
- Higgins and Fenichel each have four extra base hits for the season. Higgins has a triple, a home run and two doubles. Fenichel has three doubles and one home run.
- Aller and Brewer each recorded a stolen base.
- This was the second time this season Young has struck out 10 batters, a season high for her.