NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was an ugly softball game for such a beautiful day,
But in the end the Lipscomb Lady Bisons, 21-7, prevailed 7-6 in eight innings against Austin Peay State, 8-14, Sunday afternoon at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. The Lady Bisons swept the three-game series and have won their last five in a row.
“We had a bad start,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We talked about this Saturday. On Sundays, the last game of the series, the other team knows more about you and has a better idea of how to attack. They are coming in with a fresh start and they are a little hungrier to get the last win.
“Sundays are not easy. It wasn’t always pretty, but we found a way to win.”
Caitlin Plocheck ended the game with a walk-off single up the middle with one out. Kasey Gibson opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Fenichel.
“When we are at home, in the last inning, I never think we are out of a game,” Ryman said. “I think the team feels that way as well.
“Kasey had a huge at bat. Abby laid down the bunt. Plocheck got the big hit. We executed perfectly.”
From the start there was little doubt it was going to be a long afternoon. In the first inning Austin Peay capitalized on two walks as Carly Mattson hit a home run to left field with two outs in the first for three runs.
Lipscomb responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Hannah DeVault that scored Gibson and Fenichel who had opened the inning with back-to-back singles.
The Governors added three more runs in the second as Kendall Vedder connected for a double to right field to bring in two runs. They would add one more on a sac fly.
Lipscomb added another run in the second as Khayla Green scored on a ground out to second by Fenichel.
In the fifth, Lipscomb trimmed Austin Peay’s lead to 6-5. Fenichel scored on a wild pitch. Chloe Yeager drove in Sarah Higgins with a single to left field.
The Lady Bisons tied the game in the sixth as Plocheck doubled down the left field line to bring home Destinee Brewer who singled to third base to start the inning.
Both teams were scoreless in the seventh setting the stage for Plocheck’s game-winning hit.
McCarley Thomas pitched 1.1 innings as the Lipscomb starter. She gave up four hits and six runs, all earned. She walked three and struck out two.
“I thought, offensively, Austin Peay had a good start,” Ryman said. “McCarley didn’t have a good start. She was getting behind a lot.
“You never want to have that kind of start. But, thankfully for her, this is not her norm. There were lessons learned from this start.”
Yeager relieved in the second inning. In 3.2 scoreless innings she allowed two hits. She walked three and struck out three.
“For Chloe to come in and shut them down was huge,” Ryman said. “There were some ugly innings.
“They had some base runners, but what a great job by her to shut them down. In the end it is not about baserunners. It is about getting them in.”
Mandy Jordan, 14-3, closed out the game. She threw three scoreless innings on one hit. She struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
“Mandy came in and closed the door at the end,” Ryman said. “She did what she had to do.”
Autumn Hanners started in the circle for Austin Peay. She scattered 10 hits and allowed five runs, all earned. She struck out five and walked two.
Sidney Hooper threw the final 2.1 innings. She gave up five hits and two runs, both earned. She walked one and struck out one.
“Offensively, we did a nice job of chipping away,” Ryman said. “That is how you win on Sundays.
“We had contributions from a lot of people. I can’t continue to emphasize enough how this team does not rely on one or two people. There are so many girls on this team who can step up.”
- Every Lipscomb hitter reached base at least once. All but two had at least one hit. Higgins walked and reached base on a fielder’s choice. Green walked twice.
- Peyton Ward, Gibson and Plocheck tied for the game-high with three hits. It was a season game high for Ward. Gibson has two three-hit games and Plocheck leads the team with four.
- Gibson leads the team with 12 multiple-hit games. Plocheck is second with 10.
- Plocheck and DeVault each drove in two runs. DeVault and Plocheck are tied with Gibson for second on the team in multiple-RBI games with four.
- Fenichel has reached base in the last 18 games.
- Plocheck has nine doubles.
Next up: The Lady Bisons face one final series before opening ASUN Conference play. Western Kentucky is scheduled to visit Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.