MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. - The Lipscomb softball team ended Friday with a second win as the Lady Bisons shut out George Mason 5-0 at the EMU Madeira Beach Invitational.
"I'm really proud of us for another strong day," Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman said. "We had two different opponents that I haven't recalled playing in the past. We've played a lot of teams in the past 13 years, but these are not two teams that we face very often.
"This early in the season, when you're going up against a team you've never faced before, I think focus becomes more on us than the other teams. We went into it today more focused on what we need to do to win."
Sophomore Megan Gray started off her season with success, earning her first career win against the Patriots.
Gray tossed four strikeouts and only allowed three hits in the shutout win.
"I can't say enough about Megan Gray," Ryman said. "I'm so, so proud of her. She came in last year with so much talent and such a huge upside. She just needed a little more time."
"I feel really good about where our pitching staff is now. I'm so excited for Megan and so proud of her. She's just a player who had to trust the process and trust taking a couple of steps backwards in order to be better. And that's a hard process, but she's just stayed at it."
Lipscomb (4-0) jumped out to an early lead thanks to a home run from sophomore Hannah DeVault in the second inning.
"We came out swinging really early in that game," Ryman said. "Truthfully, we didn't put as many runs on the board as I thought we would with 13 hits. But, certainly not complaining about a 5-0 win."
Junior Khayla Green started the sequence of events leading to the second run in the second inning with a single up the middle, advancing Plocheck to third. Plocheck then scored on an error by the Patriots second baseman.
"Offensively, I thought we did a good job throughout," Ryman said. "We had 13 hits, scored five runs, and still left 10 on base."
Sophomore Peyton Ward belted Lipscomb’s second homer of the game to open the fourth inning.
Freshman Caitlin Turner pushed the lead to 4-0 with a single up the middle that scored Green.
"It was good to see contributions from a lot of people, but I thought that lower part of the order really sparked us tonight."
In the fifth after DeVault reached base on an error, she then advanced to second on a groundout before two GMU errors allowed her to come all the way around to score and put Lipscomb ahead 5-0.
Game One: Lipscomb 4 Virginia 3
The Lipscomb softball team continued its winning ways on Friday afternoon by opening up the EMU Madeira Beach Invitational with a 4-3 win over Virginia.
Junior Mandy Jordan earned her second win of the season by dealing 12 strikeouts and only allowing two earned runs.
"I thought Mandy threw a great game in game one," Ryman said. "She still had a lot of strikeouts. She gave up more hits, but what doesn't show is how many of those hits were tough-luck kind of hits. We gave up three hits down the line."
The Lady Bisons scored the game-winning run as Plocheck drew a bases-loaded, walk-off walk to score freshman Jenna Endris. Endris was pinch-running for junior Sarah Higgins who had doubled to left center.
"Ending the game in a walk is interesting," Ryman said, "But, we were in a situation where we had nobody out, bases loaded, and felt really good with who we had coming up. Whether it had been a walk or something else, we put ourselves in a good position to score."
Lipscomb scored a pair of runs in the first inning after loading the bases.
DeVault reached on an error to send Turner home, and Plocheck RBI-singled to score Higgins.
"I would like to see us not have that sort of stall in the middle innings, but I love the way we came out and scored early and got on the board quickly," Ryman said. "After that it was a back-and-forth battle. We kept grinding, and offensively, we found out a way to score the run late."
The Purple and Gold scored their third run in the third inning as Plocheck doubled to center, advanced to third on a passed ball, and then scored on an error.
The Lady Bisons will be back tomorrow with two more games against Ohio 10 in the morning, followed by Jacksonville State at 12:30 p.m.