NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Big hits made the difference for the Lipscomb softball team as Abby Fenichel blasted a two-run homer and Caitlin Plocheck drove in two runs with a double to pace a 6-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
With the win Sunday afternoon at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium the Lady Bisons won the Atlantic Sun series 2-1.
Lipscomb is 20-18 overall, 5-4 in the A-Sun. FGCU falls to 19-19, 3-3 in the conference.
The Lady Bisons are tied for second in the conference standings.
“Our feet have to stay on the gas,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “I don’t know if anyone in our league is going to run away with it. The pack is going to stay pretty tight and we want to be up at the top.”
“There is no series you can take lightly. There is no series where you can assume you are going to sweep. We are going to have to fight for every game and we are starting to realize that.”
Fenichel put Lipscomb on the board in the third inning with a two-run blast over the center field fence.
“We had some runners early but couldn’t push anything across,” Ryman said. “We got Brittany Elmore over to third with two outs and Abby got the big hit.”
The Lady Bisons added four more runs in the fifth with Plocheck leading the way. With the bases loaded Plocheck hit a line drive double down the left field line.
Elmore, Destinee Brewer, and Plocheck each had two hits.
“We continued to hit, but we struggled to get anything else together until the fifth inning,” Ryman said. “Plocheck gets the big double down the line and breaks it open.”
Kelly Young, 10-5, went the distance for her second win in the series. She gave up five hits and one run. She walked four and struck out seven.
“I thought Kelly really did a nice job,” Ryman said. “We had some nice defensive plays behind her.
“Kelly is throwing with so much confidence right now. As coaches we know what kind of pitcher she is. She has really picked up steam and is trending upwards. She is throwing well and that is what we need.”
Riley Randolph, 8-4, threw 4.1 innings for FGCU. She allowed seven hits and five runs, all earned. She walked two and struck out six.
“I thought we definitely did a better job against Randolph this time,” Ryman said. “This is what we want from our hitters when we are seeing a pitcher for the second time.
“I think it is huge when we can make those adjustments. Saturday night the girls watched their at bats against Randolph. That was smart for them to see what she was throwing and what adjustments they needed to make this time around.”
Gabbee Draney came on in relief for FGCU. In 1.2 innings she faced six batters, giving up two hits and walking two. She also gave up one run.
“We showed more discipline at the plate,” Ryman said. “We made Randolph throw more pitches.
“Draney came in and she was struggling a little bit. We were smart to stay disciplined and being patient and making her throw strikes. Sundays are tough. I like what we did.”
- FGCU has never won a series against Lipscomb.
- Elmore and Brewer each have 10 multi-hit games. Plocheck has five.
- Plocheck moved into the team lead in doubles with nine, one ahead of Fenichel.
- Fenichel has six home runs, second on the team behind Sarah Higgins with nine.
- Fenichel is second on the team with seven multiple-RBI games. Plocheck is third with six.
- Elmore has hits in her last eight games, the longest current hitting streak on the team. She is one away from tying her longest hitting streak of the season.
- Brewer stole two bases for a season total of 12. Elmore stole one base, giving her 19 for the season.
Next up: Lipscomb will face UAB in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.