NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The only thing hotter than the weather Saturday may be the intensity of an ASUN Conference doubleheader between the Lipscomb Lady Bisons and Kennesaw State.
The first game of the three-game series begins at 4 p.m. with the nightcap scheduled to start at 6 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. The final game will be played Sunday at 2. All three games will be live on ESPN3.
Saturday is “Senior Day” for the Lady Bisons. Between games Mimi Cartwright, Kasey Gibson, Taylor Neuhart and McCarley Thomas will be honored. These are also the final home regular season games.
Every ASUN game is crucial but the standings are close. The Lady Bisons enter the series with a 34-13 record, 7-5 in the ASUN, and a four-game winning streak. They are tied for second with North Florida.
Kennesaw State is 32-16, 8-6 in the conference. USC Upstate leads with an 11-4 ASUN record, 38-11 overall.
“Kennesaw has had a great year,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “They have been up near the top of the conference week-in and week-out. They have a good combination of power and speed. They run very well. They are going to put pressure on you defensively.
“They do a lot of things well. You can’t look at them on paper and find a weakness. They are solid in all three areas – hitting, pitching and fielding. That makes them tough to beat.”
In conference games only Kennesaw State is second in batting with a .272 average. The Lady Bisons have the lowest earned run average in ASUN games only at 1.57.
Overall, Kennesaw State is hitting .314 as a team with five starters hitting .360 or better. The overall slugging percentage for the Owls is .462, the highest in the conference.
In the circle for Kennesaw State Ally Cutting is 15-9 overall with a 2.34 ERA and Logan Viers is 12-6 with a 2.42 ERA.
“They have two solid pitchers,” Ryman said. “One of the key factors that separates the top three or four teams is which teams have two quality pitchers.
“We have been one of those teams with Mandy Jordan and McCarley Thomas. Mandy and McCarley have to continue to do the things they do well. They have to continue to attack hitters. Defensively, we have played well behind them, but we are going to have to be sharp this weekend.”
Jordan rolling on: Jordan leads the conference overall in five pitching categories – ERA (1.15), innings pitched (195), strike outs (231), batters struck out looking (55) and wins (22). She is third with a .191 opposing batting average.
Jordan is ranked ninth in the NCAA in strikeouts. She has struck out 10 or more batters eight times this season.
In ASUN games only Jordan leads in three categories – ERA (1.09), opposing batting average (.186) and strike outs (54). She is second with 57.2 innings, tied for second in wins (five) and fourth in batters struck out looking (nine).
Going with the Plo: Caitlin Plocheck is tied for third overall in the conference in hits with Kennesaw State’s Hannah Thomason. They both have 59.
Plocheck is second in home runs overall with nine, two behind the Owls’ Courtney Sutter. She is tied for second in doubles overall with 15. Kennesaw State’s Noelle Winkles leads with 18.
Plocheck has 24 extra base hits, second in the ASUN in the category. She is first overall in total bases with 101. Sutter is second with 100.
Plocheck is batting .366, eighth overall in the ASUN.
Three of the top four players overall in slugging percentage will be on the field. Plocheck is fourth at .627. Sutter is first at .685 and Winkles is third at .643.
In ASUN games only Plocheck is second in slugging percentage (.610), tied for second in home runs (three), third in total bases (25) and tied for eighth in RBI (seven).
Thomas, no doubt: Thomas is ranked fifth overall in opposing batting average (.225), sixth in strikeouts (106), sixth in batters struck out looking (28), eighth in ERA (2.44) and tied for eighth in wins (11).
In ASUN games only she is sixth in strikeouts (27), tied for eighth in batters struck out looking (four), 10th in ERA (2.59) and 10th in opposing batting average (.272).
Other key stats: Khayla Green is tied for 10th in ASUN games only with four steals.
Abby Fenichel is 10th in ASUN games only with a .409 on base percentage. She is tied for fourth in walks with six. Hannah DeVault also has six walks.
Fenichel has been hit 11 times this season which leads the ASUN overall. She has been hit three times in ASUN games tying her for first.
No errors: Four Lipscomb players have been perfect in the field in ASUN games – Fenichel at catcher, Plocheck at first base, Destinee Brewer in left field and Kasey Gibson in center.