NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The hard-earned lessons of a weekend facing two of the top 15 teams in the country have started to pay dividends for the Lipscomb softball team.
After losing to No. 9 Oklahoma 2-0 and No. 12/13 Tennessee 10-2 Sunday, the Lady Bisons came back strong pounding out nine hits on the way to a 10-1 win over Tennessee State.
“We have talked and talked this season about coming out in an attack mode and staying in it,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We felt like, in a sense, that this team started to find itself this past weekend.”
The game was called after 4 ½ innings Tuesday night at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium due to the run rule.
Brittany Elmore led off the first inning with a walk and then stole second base and third. She scored the first run of the game on a passed ball.
Abby Fenichel walked followed by singles by Baylee Williams and Caitlin Plocheck. The single to right field by Plocheck drove in Fenichel.
Plocheck stole second and Khayla Green walked. With the bases loaded Malorie Giere doubled to clear the bases.
“Malorie has found a way in certain situations to come through when we need her,” Ryman said. “Her first at bat was crucial in helping us break the game open early. She is getting some key hits.”
Plocheck blasted a solo home run to left field to lead off the third inning for a 6-0 Lipscomb lead.
“Having Plocheck doing what she is right now is such a key for our lineup,” Ryman said. “To have her jump on board and be as consistent as she has been lately is a plus. This is the Plocheck we see in practice every day.
“It is exciting for us as coaches to see what she is doing in games. We know that down the stretch she might be one of those hitters that people are overlooking who can do a lot of damage in a hurry.”
In the fourth TSU broke the shutout attempt by starter Mandy Jordan with a home run to left field to start the inning on a 3-2 count.
Lipscomb added four more runs in the fourth. Elmore and Brewer each connected for back-to-back singles and Fenichel loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice.
Williams slammed a double to left center to bring in all three runs.
“We are glad to see Baylee making solid contact and finally finding some defensive holes,” Ryman said.
Williams closed out the scoring as she crossed the plate on a single to left center by Riley Brown.
“We came out and did a nice job of attacking on offense early,” Ryman said. “Mandy had a great first inning to set the tone.
“We needed to set the tone defensively and in the circle and then we needed to come in and be the first team to score. That set the tone for the rest of the game. I thought we did a nice job of controlling what we can control.”
Jordan, 3-2, struck out 11 batters, a season and career high. She held TSU to two hits. Three of Jordan’s strikeouts were in the first inning.
“Mandy has that ability,” Ryman said. “There have been times in the season where we wanted her to throw more, but we have had two senior pitchers soaking up the innings.
“I thought she did a tremendous job of coming out and attacking. Mandy is one of those pitchers who can dominate a game.”
Lipscomb is 25-24. TSU falls to 10-39.
- Jordan’s 11 strikeouts are a single-game season and career high.
- Lipscomb is 4-2 this season against Ohio Valley Conference opponents.
- Giere’s three RBI are a single-game season and career high.
- This was the third game in a row dating back to last season that the Lady Bisons have beaten TSU in five innings due to the run lead.
- Plocheck has hits in her last 10 games, the current team high.
- Williams’ two hits give her 10 multi-hit games this season.
- Plocheck leads the team in multiple-RBI games with 10.
Next up: The Lady Bisons are off this weekend as final exams for the semester begin Friday.
They return to action May 3 against UAB at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium in the final home game of the year.
They close out the regular season May 6 and 7 at Kennesaw State in Atlantic Sun action with tournament seeding on the line.