NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb softball team was shut out for the first time all season on Saturday as USC Upstate picked up a 4-0 win at Draper Diamond in the ASUN Conference opener for the Bisons.
The loss drops Lipscomb to 18-8 overall and 0-1 in league play while Upstate improves to 20-9 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
“I thought we got outplayed completely,” Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman said. “The whole game we were out-energized, out-intensified, I thought we were out-defended, out-pitched and out-hit. It’s hard to win games when you aren’t bringing your best effort.”
USC Upstate grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Karla Beasley, the ASUN’s leading home-run hitter, hit her eighth bomb of the year on a full count with two outs in the top of the first inning.
“Even though we handled it okay afterwards, I thought that home run definitely set the tone,” Ryman said. “She’s not the girl you want to beat you because she can, easily. Mandy just missed on a pitch.”
The Spartans doubled their lead in the top of the fourth on a 2-out single that brought around Beasley to score from first.
Lipscomb put together its first true scoring opportunity of the contest in the home half of the fourth when the Lady Bisons loaded the bases with only one out. Abby Fenichel led off the frame with a double and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sarah Higgins and Hannah DeVault each drew walks to set the stage for Caitlin Plocheck. The senior first baseman hit a fly ball to shallow right field that was caught and then thrown in to double off Higgins at second to end the threat.
“We certainly had an opportunity to break it open there, but we ran into a double play,” Ryman said. “Not taking advantage of having runners in scoring position has been a struggle off and on for us this season.
“We’ve got to make sure we take advantage, because we are going to find ourselves in situations like today when those opportunities are far and few between.”
Upstate tacked on a run in the sixth and seventh innings to close out the scoring.
Junior hurler Mandy Jordan (11-1) suffered her first defeat of the season after matching her season high of four runs allowed. She worked her 10th complete game of the year with seven hits allowed, two walks and three strikeouts on 109 pitches.
The highlight of the game was that it was the 3rd Annual Daddy-Daughter Day at Draper Diamond. Each member of the team had their Dad by their side to run through the pregame rituals, take the field for the National Anthem and even have a couple throw out ceremonial first pitches.
“This is just a fun day all around,” Ryman said. “Moms and Dads do so much for these girls and the amount of time and effort they spend on travel ball and all of the sacrifices they make, we thought this would be a good way to show appreciation to them by allowing the dads to come down and see what pregame and cheering is like.
“It has been a fun tradition and the Dads seem to really enjoy it. This is just a fun way to honor everything they do for these girls.”
AROUND THE HORN:
- The loss marks the third straight season the Lady Bisons lost the conference opener to Upstate.
- Lipscomb finished 0-for-9 with runners on base and 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
- Peyton Ward swiped her team-leading 11th stolen base of the season, while Higgins stole her first.
- Caitlin Turner, Fenichel and Ward combined for all three hits for the Bisons.
- Fenichel’s double was her seventh of the year.
- Three Spartans had multiple hits, including Beasley who had a double, a home run, a walk and scored three runs.
Lipscomb and USC Upstate will wrap up action on Sunday with a doubleheader at Draper Diamond after weather forced a schedule change. The first game will get under way at Noon.