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May 11, 20171234567RHE
Florida Gulf Coast030000X350
Win: RANDOLPH (18-10) 7.041116
Loss: MANDY JORDAN (23-11) 6.053156
ASUN Softball Tourney ends early for Lady Bisons
Friday, May 12, 2017
By Mark McGee
ASUN Softball Tourney ends early for Lady Bisons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Under trees with branches still dripping from rain in the shadows deep behind the left field fence, the Lipscomb Lady Bisons added to the gloom of the setting with words, tears, hugs and more hugs.

A season that began with few expectations and lots of unanswered questions ended Friday night at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. The Lady Bisons, the No. 5 seed, lost 3-1 to Florida Gulf Coast, the No. 4 seed, for the second time in the double-elimination ASUN Conference Softball Tournament.

With a rating of 50 in the NCAA RPI there is still a chance for a regional berth.

 “You pour so much time, energy, effort and heart into a season,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “You put so much emotionally into a season. Even as coaches we do that.

“When the season ends it hurts. It is never the perfect time. I am proud of this team setting the bar back where we wanted it to be set. This group made its own way and made its mark.”

The game lasted five hours and 24 minutes, including a three-hour and 24-minute rain delay. When the game was stalled for the rain there was one out for the Eagles with the bases loaded. Pitcher Mandy Jordan came out of the delay to strike out the first two batters she faced to end the inning.

The Lady Bisons struck first with a run in the second inning as Sarah Higgins, Hannah DeVault and Chloe Yeager all connected for singles with two outs. Yeager drove in Higgins with what would be the only run for Lipscomb.

Florida Gulf Coast answered with a pair of doubles in their part of the second. Racquel Fournet’s double drove in two runs to highlight the inning.

Jordan, 23-11, scattered five hits, walked five and struck out six. Only one of the runs she allowed was earned.

Riley Randolph, 18-10, gave up four hits, walked one and struck out six.

The Lady Bisons ended the season 36-20. The Eagles evened their record at 29-29.

“The end of the season is always hard and the first thing you do is reflect on memories,” Ryman said. “When I think about this year I think about how we knew we had good players and young players, but we didn’t know how all of that was going to play out on the field.”

Ryman singled out seniors McCarley Thomas, Kasey Gibson, Mimi Cartwright and Taylor Neuhart for their leadership, each in their own way.

“I am so proud of them,” Ryman said. “McCarley and Kasey were in huge roles this year. Mimi would have been if she had not had an injury.

“They all led in the right way and they are definitely leaving their marks on this program in more ways than just what they did on the field.”

Ryman points to Thomas, Gibson, junior Caitlin Plocheck and sophomore Mandy Jordan as key reasons the team achieved.

“All four of those girls turned the corner in such a huge way,” Ryman said. “It allowed us to have a 36-win season and a 37 RPI. You are talking about postseason-type numbers and it is all because those four turned the corner.”