NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A softball player can be taught how to hit, catch, throw and run, but a coach can’t teach someone how to be a clutch performer.
Sarah Higgins, in her fourth season with the Lipscomb Lady Bisons, has developed a reputation for performing when a big hit is needed. She added to her clutch hit resume Thursday night in the sixth inning.
Higgins slammed a two-out, pinch-hit double down the left field line that drove Khayla Green home with what would prove to be the winning run.
“It is hard to describe a player like Sarah,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “She just has a knack for hitting in big moments.
“She stays very even-keeled. The moment doesn’t get too big for her any more as a veteran. She plays with a lot of poise.”
In the first game of the Lady Bison Classic at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium the blast by Higgins broke a 2-2 tie with the Buffalo Bulls. Lipscomb is 13-6-1. Buffalo drops to 1-14.
Higgins is normally a starter for Lipscomb, but due to some lineup shifting she was held in reserve.
“Sarah has done a good job for us,” Ryman said. “I can’t say enough about Sarah being a veteran and how she handled not starting so gracefully. She is a very humble player
“She was talking to people the whole game wanting to know what the pitcher was doing. She wanted to be prepared if she got the chance. She is willing to do what is necessary for the team. That is why her teammates love her.”
Katie Turner, 7-1, came on in relief in the fifth inning with the bases loaded with two outs and two runs in for Buffalo. She struck out the only batter she faced to stop the threat. In 2 1/3 shutout innings she gave up one hit, struck out six and did not walk a batter.
Chloe Rogers made her first collegiate start in the circle for Lipscomb. In 4 2/3 innings she scattered three hits, struck out five, walked five and gave up two runs.
“I thought Chloe did really well,” Ryman said. “There were going to be some nerves because it was her first start. I thought she had a really great start to the game. We saw a lot of really good things out of her. I hate she didn’t get the win.
“I also thought Katie did a great job of coming in and getting that out right off the bat. That is not an easy situation to come into. She got the big strikeout. That was a good momentum booster for us.”
Ally Power, 1-8, went the distance for Buffalo. She allowed nine hits, struck out five and walked one.
- Jordan Fortel finished with two hits and one RBI. She leads the team with 15 RBI.
- Fortel extended her streak of reaching base safely to 18 games. Peyton Ward has reached base in her last 16 and Hannah DeVault has been on base in her last 15 games.
- In addition to Higgins, DeVault and Katie Turner also blasted doubles. DeVault leads the Lady Bisons with eight.
- DeVault connected for a hit in her eighth straight game. It the longest active streak and second longest overall this season for Lipscomb.
- Green also finished with two hits. She also stole her sixth bases of the season.
- Graysen Gladden added to her team stolen base lead with her 10th of the season.
The Lady Bisons are scheduled for a rematch with Buffalo at 3 p.m. as the Lady Bison Classic continues.
Lipscomb has won five straight games. Buffalo has lost its last eight games.