FORT MYERS, Fla. – One game. One last regular season win, and the title is theirs for the taking.
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons find themselves on the verge of a regular season championship after sweeping a doubleheader from Florida Gulf Coast Thursday night at the FGCU Softball Complex.
“In literally our last game of the season we are still playing for something,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “It is kind of a unique feeling.
“We all know what we are playing for. What we have been doing is great. We don’t need to look at Friday differently or try harder. We just need to keep doing what we are doing.”
Mandy Jordan threw a 2-0 shutout in game one.
Megan Gray took the win in game two by a 4-2 score with a little help in the circle from Katie Turner and Jordan, who earned her fourth save.
Lipscomb and FGCU close out the regular season Friday at noon.
A series sweep by the Lady Bisons would give them the ASUN regular season championship. A loss would drop them to second due to Liberty owning the tie-breaker but would give Lipscomb a first-round bye in the tournament.
“It felt like a postseason atmosphere, especially in game two,” Ryman said. “There was a lot of emotion in the games for both teams.
“You have to be able to emotionally ride the highs and lows and keep an even keel. We have a team that thrives on positive emotions.”
The Lady Bisons have won their last nine games and 16 of their last 17.
Lipscomb is 37-13-1 overall, 15-4 in the ASUN. Florida Gulf Coast slips to 28-19, 13-6 in the conference.
Jordan, 15-7, went the distance in game one allowing only two hits. She walked one and struck out four.
Riley Randolph, 17-8, took the loss. She scattered eight hits, walked five and struck out seven.
In game two Gray, 7-2, pitched five innings. She gave up four hits and two runs, struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Katie Turner pitched the sixth inning and was pulled without any outs in the seventh. She gave up four hits.
Jordan closed out the game striking out two of the three batters she faced.
The big hitters for Lipscomb were Jenna Pealor and Peyton Ward.
Pealor’s three-for-four performance in game one included one run batted in.
Ward with a two-for-three performance in game two was highlighted by an RBI-triple that also allowed her to score from third on an error in the fifth inning.
Hannah DeVault drove in a run on a single in the third to go with Pealor’s RBI in the inning.
In game two Graysen Gladden drove in a run with a single in the sixth. Ward scored a run in the seventh on a wild pitch.
Marrisa Mesiemore, 10-6, took the loss in game two. In six innings she gave up seven hits and four runs, walked six and struck out five.
“Florida Gulf Coast threw a lot of challenges at us,” Ryman said. “It is not easy to sweep a series, especially against a team as good as Florida Gulf Coast.
“We did a good job of finding a way. We knew runs were going to be hard to come by. They pitch as well as anybody in the league. We faced two good starters. We had to stay the course.”
- DeVault, Amy Vetula and Ward each are tied for the team lead with six-game hitting streaks.
- Vetula connected for two hits in game one.
- With her two hits in game two Ward has 12 multi-hit games tying her for first on the team with Gladden and Jordan Fortel.
- Fortel tripled in game one, her third of the season. She is tied for the team lead with Gladden. Ward has two triples this season.
- DeVault has reached base safely in 20 straight games, the longest current streak on the team and the second longest of the season.
- Higgins double in game two gives her 12 for the season, putting her in second place on the team in the category.
- Ward stole a base in each game. She has 28.
The ASUN Tournament opens Wednesday at FGCU. The winner earns the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.
At least one softball website is predicting both Lipscomb and Liberty could earn spots in the NCAA Tournament.