NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was the end of a string of practices that challenged the Lipscomb softball team both mentally and physically.
Coach Kristin Ryman admits there were several “ah, ha” moments for her players. They had a script for the home finale Tuesday night against UAB at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium, but an unexpected player changed what could have been a happy ending.
“We had a tough week of practice,” Ryman said. “We came out fighting hard and we came up short. That is frustrating.
“They know after what happened earlier this week in practice they were all in with making some changes. They did, but they didn’t see the results of it in this game. That is part of the process. They have to stick with it.”
Rachel Dunsford was making only her seventh start for UAB this season and did not have a home run. Of her two hits on the season one was a double.
In the top of the seventh UAB’s Hannah Lee walked to lead off the inning. Dunsford hit a two-run homer to right field to score what proved to be the winning runs.
“They had a couple of kids who hadn’t been in the lineup and they did a good job for them,” Ryman said. “UAB has a deep roster.”
In the bottom of the seventh Kasey Gibson singled to center field with one out but was left stranded at first for Lipscomb.
UAB struck first in the top of the third on a pair of doubles which brought in two runs.
Lipscomb answered in the bottom of the third. With one out Brittany Elmore slammed a double down the left field line. Destinee Brewer reached base on a bunt single moving Elmore to third. Brewer stole second and Elmore scored when UAB’s catcher threw the ball into center field.
Abby Fenichel hit a sac fly to center to score Brewer to tie the game at 2-2.
Kelly Young, 12-10, went the distance for Lipscomb. She scattered six hits and all four runs she allowed were earned. Young struck out 10 batters and walked three.
“They started squaring the ball up against Kelly later in the game,” Ryman said. “I thought she pitched a fantastic game, but they started making more solid contact late and got ahold of one that changed the game."
Cara Goodwin, 14-9, pitched the final three innings for UAB to get the win. She struck out four, walked one and gave up one hit.
Madison Hir threw the first four innings. She allowed three hits, walked two and struck out one.
The Lady Bisons fell to 25-25. UAB, from Conference USA, is 24-28.
“UAB is a good team,” Ryman said. “We know every time we play them it is going to be a challenge. We know we have to bring our best, just like they know they have to bring their best.
“For the most part it was a well-played game for us. We have to bring our `A’ game with every single player. It just didn’t come together for us at the end.”
- Sarah Higgins started at designated person and got a hit in her first at bat. With the exception of a couple of pinch hit at bats she has been sidelined since April 9.
- Fenichel walked twice and picked up the RBI with a sac fly to go 0-0 for the game.
- Plocheck ended her team-leading hitting streak at 10 games.
- Brewer stole her 15th base of the season. Kiley Aller stole her third.
Next up: The Lady Bisons close out the regular season with a three-game Atlantic Sun series at Kennesaw State Friday and Saturday.
A doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Friday with a single game Saturday, also at 4 p.m.