NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Somebody has to climb out of the loser’s bracket and Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman figures her Lady Bisons are just the players to do it.
The Lady Bisons, the No. 5 seed in the ASUN Conference Softball Tournament, dropped to the loser’s bracket after falling 4-0 to No. 4-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. 27-28, Wednesday night at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.
“It’s definitely tough to come out of the loser’s bracket,” Ryman said. “I’m not going to act like it is the easiest thing in the world.
“As I have said in other years when we have fallen into the loser’s bracket, someone has to come out of it. I think it can be us. We have to go out and play loose and free because we are not expected to win.”
Lipscomb, 35-19, is scheduled to face Jacksonville, the No. 6 seed, at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Dolphins are 30-24.
This is a change in the original scheduled time. Due to weather concerns plans are to play five games Thursday instead of the original four.
The first game will begin at 9 a.m. with each game scheduled 2 ½ hours apart.
For the Lady Bisons it was a repeat of their regular season finale, also a 4-0 loss to Florida Gulf Coast.
“I don’t think this game was about anything like a lack of effort,” Ryman said. “We weren’t unmotivated.
“We were driven. We are not playing our best softball right now, unfortunately, but we still came out and had a fire about us. We just didn’t execute.”
In the second inning the Eagles capitalized on a pair of bases loaded walks by starter McCarley Thomas and an RBI-single with bases loaded given up by Mandy Jordan in relief for a 3-0 lead.
In the third Lulu Newmark slammed a solo home run to close out the scoring.
Thomas, 12-9, lasted 1.1 innings allowing three runs, all earned, on three hits. She walked three and did not strike out a batter.
Jordan pitched 4.2 innings. She gave up three hits and one earned run. She walked three and struck out one.
“We had a lot of walks,” Ryman said. “They came back to bite us.
“I think our pitching and defense have carried us most of the season. We have hit really well in spurts. When our pitchers are not at their best we have to have their backs offensively and we are struggling to do that.”
Riley Randolph, 16-9, went the distance for Florida Gulf Coast. She scattered four hits, struck out nine and did not walk a batter.
“Randolph threw a great game for them,” Ryman said. “Offensively, we struggled. We had a few balls that were well hit right at people where they made some nice plays.
“Unfortunately, you are not always going to get those breaks. You can’t bank on that. Overall, I thought we struggled to string anything together offensively.”
The Lady Bisons have to win against Jacksonville to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament.
Ryman is looking for a player or players to step up and light a spark to keep the season going.
“If this team will stay in the mindset they came into the Gulf Coast game with and not go back and be upset and frustrated I believe we can win,” Ryman said. “We are going to have to execute. It isn’t just going to happen.
“You coach all year, but at this point there are not things you can do like mechanical fixes. You are as prepared as you are going to be. They have to trust their training. They have put the time and work in. It is about them going out and playing and believing in what they are doing.”