NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Following a 4-2 eight-inning loss to Youngstown State Saturday night, the Lipscomb softball players pledged that this was going to be a team of “relentless” fighters.
They got off to a good start on fulfilling that pledge Sunday afternoon with a 12-9 come-from-behind win over Indiana State in the final game of the Purple and Gold Challenge at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. The Lady Bisons are 11-9 for the season. Indiana State dropped to 3-9.
“This was a team that was very frustrated after Saturday night,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “The girls talked for a while. We told them to tell what kind of team they wanted to be.
“They gave us a thorough answer but one of the things that stood out was they wanted to be relentless fighters. They came back and fought in this game.”
After spotting the Sycamores a 1-0 lead in the top of the first Lipscomb scored pair in the bottom of the inning. Indiana State tied the game in the second with one run.
The Lady Bisons built a 6-2 lead with one run the third and two in the fourth,
But Indiana State capitalized in the fifth for six runs on five hits and three errors.
Lipscomb added a run in the bottom of the fifth, but exploded for six runs in the sixth on three hits, one error and four walks.
“We found ways to drive runners in,” Ryman said. “We talked a lot about not needing to do anything different at the plate with runners on base. We just need to do what we are doing without runners on.
“We left 12 runners on base but I thought we did a better job. We still have to do a better job. We had plenty of opportunities and when you are getting a lot of runners on they are not all going to score. And that was the case in this game. Would we have liked to score more early? Absolutely.”
Indiana State added one in the seventh, but Tanner Sanders entered the circle to force a fly out to right field to end the inning and the game.
Mandy Jordan started in the circle for Lipscomb. She allowed four hits and two runs, both earned. She walked one, hit one batter and struck out three.
Kelly Young, 4-2, came on and threw the next 3.2 innings. She gave up six hits and seven runs, five earned. She walked three, hit two batters and struck out three to pick up the win.
“Indiana State did a nice job of just fighting and putting pressure back on,” Ryman said. “It was a weird game. We weren’t executing and then we had a debacle inning.
“When they came in we got on them pretty hard and told them they had to turn the page and move on. We have to be mature enough to go hit and we did. That was good to see.”
Brittany Elmore and Destinee Brewer each connected for three hits to lead Lipscomb. Abby Fenichel and Baylee Williams each added two hits as Lipscomb collected 14 hits, a season game high.
Caitlin Plocheck led with a game-high four runs batted in, including two on double in the sixth.
Bailey Benefiel pitched every inning for Indiana State over the weekend. She walked 1o and struck out one.
“We been talking about attacking a lot lately,” Ryman said. “I think we took an approach knowing she was tired as a pitcher and to be patient and use that to our advantage.
“We wanted to see what the zone was going to be and we wanted to be smart with the pitches we were attacking. We waited to see what she brought to us. We did a good job.”
- The Lady Bisons had single-game team highs in runs (14), hits (12) and runs batted in (10).
- Plocheck drove in four runs in a game for the third time this season. She has driven in two or more runs in five games.
- Elmore has reached base in the last 10 games in a row which leads the team in that category. She also hit her first double of the season.
- Sarah Higgins walked four times, a single-game high, but she also managed a double to extend her team-leading hitting streak to seven games.
- Abby Fenichel scored three runs, a season single-game high.
- The Lady Bisons only failed to score in the second inning and only one Lipscomb hitter struck out.
Next up: The Lady Bisons travel to Chattanooga Wednesday for a single game at 4 p.m.