NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb Lady Bisons are living in the moment this softball season and this weekend is expected to be no different.
North Florida visits Friday for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. A single game is planned Saturday at 1 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. It is a critical ASUN Conference series for the Lady Bisons, but coach Kristin Ryman is quick to point out every weekend is critical.
“I don’t want it to sound cliché’, but every weekend is important because no one has separated from the pack from top-to-bottom,” Ryman said. “Every single weekend is going to be tough and we know that.
“We have had good practices this week. I like where our team is.”
Lipscomb enters the series with a 29-12 record overall, 5-4 in the conference. The Lady Bisons are tied with Kennesaw State for third place. North Florida is 24-18 overall, 4-2 in the ASUN. The Ospreys are in second place behind USC Upstate.
The Lady Bisons lead the series 16-11.
“We have talked to this team about the only thing you deserve is what you earn,” Ryman said. “It doesn’t matter what our record is at this point. It doesn’t matter who is the better team. When you step on the field all that matters is what you earn.”
This is North Florida’s first conference series on the road this season. North Florida has the top hitter in the league in Navia Penrod with an ASUN-leading .463 batting average. She leads the conference in total bases with 67, second in the nation.
“North Florida is playing really well right now,” Ryman said. “They are hitting well. Overall, they are hitting top-to-bottom better than they did last year. Their pitching is much improved from last year.”
Ryman’s biggest concern with North Florida is Penrod, a player who can jump start an offense.
“Navia Penrod is the typical scrappy kind of player,” Ryman said. “She has got power. She is very, very good at putting the ball in play. She gets out of the batter’s box quickly and she is going to make you have to make a play on her.
“She is a right-handed batter who puts the ball in play and runs well. She has been hitting all year against everybody. She is a tough out.”-
Pitching double trouble: Ryman may be concerned with North Florida’s offense, but Lipscomb has two of the top pitchers in the ASUN in Mandy Jordan and McCarley Thomas.
Overall Jordan is first in strikeouts (200), batters struck out looking (47), wins (18) and innings pitched (166). She is second with a 1.27 earned run average and third with a .200 opposing batter average.
Jordan is also dominating several categories in ASUN games only. She leads with a .203 opposing batting average and 41 strikeouts. She is tied for first in wins with three and starts with six.
She is third with a 1.28 ERA. She is tied for sixth in strikeouts looking with three.
Thomas overall is fifth in opposing batting average (.226), fifth in batters struck out looking (27), sixth in strikeouts (98), tied for eighth in wins (10) and 10th in ERA (2.61).
In conference games only Jordan is tied for fifth in strikeouts with 20 and is tied for sixth in strikeouts looking with three. She is also tied for sixth in wins with two. She is 11th in innings pitched with 11.
On the offensive: The Lady Bisons have a varied offensive attack.
Overall Caitlin Plocheck is second in home runs with eight and third in doubles with 12.
She is tied for fourth in hits with 49 and is fifth with a .599 slugging percentage.
In ASUN games only Plocheck is tied for first in total bases with 18 and is tied for second in homers with two. She is tied for third in hits with 10 and is tied for fourth in runs scored with six. She is tied for sixth with a .545 slugging percentage.
In overall stats Kasey Gibson is tied for fourth in triples with three and is tied for 10th in hits with 46.
In ASUN games Gibson is tied for fourth in walks.
Also overall Peyton Ward is ninth in stolen bases with 18. Khayla Green is tied for third in walks with 23. Sarah Higgins is tied for fifth in walks with 21.
In conference games only Higgins is tied for third in hits (10), tied for fourth in home runs (one), tied for seventh in total bases (15) and tied for ninth with a .333 batting average.
Abby Fenichel is 11th in conference games only with a .394 on base percentage.