CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Without Abby Fenichel the Lipscomb softball team would have not been in a position to be playing Chattanooga for the win in the eighth inning.
But an attempt to pick off a runner by Fenichel went past third baseman Sarah Higgins and into left field allowing Chattanooga to take a 6-5 win Wednesday night at Frost Stadium.
“Two people were involved in that play,” Lipscomb pitching coach Megan Rhodes Smith said. “It didn’t go perfectly, but it could have. You make sure everyone understands what we are going to do the next time and then you go back to work.
“You have to throw and catch. If it is a bad throw you have to block it. If it is a good throw you catch it and make the tag.”
Lipscomb is 11-10. Chattanooga, 13-9, ended a four-game losing streak.
Fenichel drove in the first run for Lipscomb in the top of the fourth when she slammed a home run to the deepest portion of the field in center. That run tied the game at 1-1 after Chattanooga took the early lead in the third on a home run by pitcher Jordan Fortel.
In the fourth Chattanooga added four runs.
Lipscomb rallied for three runs in the sixth. Destinee Brewer led off with a single down the left field line. Brittany Elmore walked. With one out Fenichel singled to left field to bring Brewer home. Sarah Higgins then singled down the right field line to score Elmore. Baylee Williams reached base on an error by the first baseman. Fenichel scored on the play.
In the seventh the Lady Bisons tied the game. With one out Brewer singled to third base. Elmore followed with a triple to right center allowing Brewer to cross the plate with the tying run.
“This team wants to be fighters and since they made that point they are fighting,” Smith said. “They are fighting now, but they have to execute plays when it matters the most.
“Once you have the intent there that we are fighting then the execution will follow. We took another step in this game and we will take another step tomorrow and the next day and the next day.”
Lipscomb out-hit Chattanooga 8-7. Fenichel led with two RBI. She tied for the team lead with two hits. Higgins, batting in the clean-up spot, added two hits along with Brewer.
Tanner Sanders started in the circle for Lipscomb. In three innings she allowed three runs, all earned, on five hits. She walked two, hit one batter and did not strike out a batter.
Kelly Young, who started the game as the designated hitter, finished the game and went 4.1 innings. She gave up two hits and three runs, two earned. She struck out four and walked two.
“Kelly didn’t come into the game the way she was capable, but she came back into the dugout and made a mental change and went back to work,” Smith said. “She really did a great job after that.”
Smith stressed the players were visibly disappointed by the outcome.
“We have to make sure we are looking objectively at the game,” Smith said. “One of the things we were most proud of was they were unhappy. They didn’t need reassurance from us. They were upset and had a look that said we want to get out there again right now. This was not the way they wanted it to end.”
- Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman was unable to make the trip due to a stomach virus.
- Lipscomb is 0-3 in extra-inning games this season with all three ending in the eighth inning.
- Higgins extended her team-leading hitting streak to eight games. She leads the team with eight multi-hit games. Brewer and Fenichel each have seven multi-hit games.
- Fenichel has five multi-RBI games.
- It was the second triple of the season for Elmore.
- Fenichel’s three RBI tied her season game-high.
- This was the first true road game of the season for the Lady Bisons.
Up next: The Lady Bisons are back on the road this weekend with a three-game series at Houston.