Softball back on the road for an ASUN series
Friday, March 31, 2017
By Mark McGee
Softball back on the road for an ASUN series

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you.

Jacksonville and Lipscomb are familiar softball foes in the ASUN Conference. But both teams enter this weekend with a few questions about each other.

“Jacksonville is definitely a good team,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “They have a lot of new players – new position players and hitters in their lineup. A good amount of their pitching staff is also new this year.

“We are coming in not really having seen them a lot. We are coming in a little bit more blind and we have to learn quickly to be able to make adjustments quickly. We can’t wait until the fifth inning to make adjustments.”

A doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. Sunday a single game will start at 11 a.m. It will be available on ESPN3.

Lipscomb enters the series with a 25-9 record overall, 1-2 in the ASUN. Jacksonville is 21-14, 1-2 in the conference.

Ryman is quick to point out that Lipscomb starting pitchers Mandy Jordan and McCarley Thomas and reliever Chloe Yeager are not well-known in the conference.

“Mandy and McCarley are both very different pitchers this year,” Ryman said. “I think that anyone who faces us is going to be facing three new pitchers since Chloe is a freshman. It will be about who makes adjustments first.”

Giere is back: Speaking of getting to know someone, the Lady Bisons are becoming reacquainted with utility player Malorie Giere. With the Lipscomb roster depleted of position players due to illness and injury Ryman reached out to Giere to rejoin the team.

“Malorie was on the team in the fall and decided at the end of the fall season she felt like it was time to move on,” Ryman said. “There were no hard feelings. The girls are her family and coaching staff-wise we loved having her on the team.

“We reached out to Malorie and asked her if she would consider coming back and helping us out. She was gracious enough to do it. I know she is excited to be back. She was a spark and an energizer for our team last season.”

The series: Lipscomb leads 20-12.

RPIs: Lipscomb is 42nd in the nation. Jacksonville is 142nd.

ASUN stats: Overall, Lipscomb is hitting .271 as a team. Jacksonville is batting .279. The Dolphins have 82 stolen bases. Lipscomb has 44.

The Lady Bisons are second in the conference with a 2.21 earned run average. Jacksonville’s staff has a 3.18 ERA.

Lipscomb’s Caitlin Plocheck is fifth in slugging percentage with a .636. She is tied for fourth in hits with 43. She is second in doubles with 11 and tied for second in home runs with seven. Plocheck is second in total bases with 75. She is second in extra base hits with 18.

Plocheck is one away from tying her career season high for home runs.

Jacksonville’s Allie McCourt is seventh in the ASUN in hitting with a .395 average and ninth with a .455 on base percentage. Heather Roberts is tied for first in RBI with 32. She is seventh with a .606 slugging percentage and fifth with a .475 on base percentage. She is tied for 10th in total bases with 57.

Lipscomb’s Peyton Ward is tied for seventh with 16 stolen bases. Jacksonville’s Danielle Baker is ninth with 15.

Ward is first in the conference with eight sacrifice bunts.

Roll on Jordan: Mandy Jordan leads the conference with 16 wins. She is also first with 165 strikeouts and in batters struck out looking with 43.

She is second with a 1.17 ERA and third with a .191 opposing batting average. She is first in innings pitched with 132.

No doubting Thomas: McCarley Thomas is in the top 10 in several pitching categories. She is fifth in opposing batting average (.224), sixth in strikeouts (84), fifth in strikeouts looking (24), seventh in wins with eight and ninth with a 2.62 ERA. She is 11th with 80 innings pitched.

Walking on: Khayla Green and Sarah Higgins are tied for fourth in walks with 20 each.