FORT MYERS, Fla. – Both Lipscomb and Florida Gulf Coast have earned berths in the ASUN Conference Tournament.
As the Lady Bisons travel to meet the Eagles in the final regular season series it is all about seeding for both teams at the FGCU Softball Complex.
The series is being played earlier in the week than normal due to graduation at Lipscomb Saturday.
A doubleheader begins Thursday at 4 p.m. Friday’s single game starts at noon.
Lipscomb is fourth in the conference with a 7-8 record, 34-16 overall. FGCU is fifth at 6-8 in the ASUN, 24-27 overall.
This is the last regular season road trip for four Lipscomb seniors – Mimi Cartwright, Kasey Gibson, Taylor Neuhart and McCarley Thomas.
Two of the leaders for the Lady Bisons this season have been Gibson in the outfield and Thomas in the circle. Their career paths have been very similar with both seeing limited action early on the college level.
Gibson made only 12 appearances as a freshman. She made one trip to the plate where she drew a base on balls. She made nine starts as a sophomore. As a junior she came a regular starter. Her senior year she has become of the top offensive weapons on the team as well as playing flawless in the outfield.
She is third on the team with a .310 batting average and is second in hits with 54 and third in runs batted in with 25. She is also second in total bases with 65.
“It is hard to explain just how much Kasey has improved over the last four years,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “She is a competitor and has a drive about her that makes us better.
“She knows what it means to have to fight for something, and she approaches every day that way. She is having the best season of her career as a senior, and we can easily say that she has earned it.”
Thomas threw only two innings as a freshman. She threw 7.2 innings as a junior. This season she has been part of a solid one-two punch in the circle with fellow starter Mandy Jordan.
Thomas is 11-8 with a 2.64 earned run average. In her previous three seasons she recorded 10 strikeouts. She has 113 this season.
“In a day and age where everyone wants instant success and gratification, Mac has been that player who truly bought into the process” Ryman said. “Our vision with her started a long time ago when I told her parents how much potential I saw in her as a 6-foot high schooler from Lipscomb Academy.
“She had a lot to learn about how to pitch at this level, but she has never stopped learning. I am going to be telling her inspiring story for years to come because it is so rare. Rarely do you see a player come in with so much room to grow, and be so patient with the process knowing it can eventually produce something great.”
The ASUN Conference Tournament starts Wednesday, May 10, at Lipscomb’s Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. The championship game is scheduled for May 14.