FORT MYERS, Fla. – Quality depth is always a key to success for teams, no matter what the sport.
Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman always looks for players who can play multiple positions to add to team depth. This season she and associate head coach Megan Smith have been working with an enviable depth situation at the pitching position with six players able to work in the circle.
“We have talked about how it has been tough to balance six pitchers all year,” Ryman said. “Six is a high number. It is more than we would typically carry.
“It is hard to get work for all of them and they all want to pitch. But it can be a really big blessing… a group of pitchers relying on each other to pick each other have a good start or come in and pick someone up.”
That kind of depth could be a key for the Lady Bisons in this week’s ASUN Tournament. The Lady Bisons, with a sweep of FGCU, won the regular season title and the first seed in the tournament. Liberty is the second seed and earned the other first round bye.
Mandy Jordan leads the way with a 16-7 record and a 1.99 earned run average in 25 appearances. Katie Turner is 11-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 17 games. Megan Gray is next with a 7-2 record and a 3.15 ERA in 16 appearances. Chloe Yeager is 3-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 16 appearances. Chloe Rogers is 1-0 with a 4.06 ERA in five appearances. Jordan Fortel has made four appearances with no record.
“We have a lot of pitchers we can rely on,” Ryman said. “We have a lot of different looks. We must make sure we have them all battle-tested and ready to go. I think we have done that.
“We know we can use them in a combination if we need to do it. We can rely on several people in starting roles. We can rely on them in relief roles. We have a lot of pitchers who can throw and give us quality innings.”
- The Lady Bisons enter the week ranked 40th in the RPI. Liberty is second at No. 52. They are the only ASUN teams ranked in the top 100.
- As a team the Lady Bisons are 13th in the nation in doubles per game with 1.67. They are 17th in stolen bases per game with 1.94. Their .735 won-loss percentage is 27th best in Division I.
- Hannah DeVault is third in the nation in doubles with 20 and 11th in doubles per game with .39.
- Jordan is 17th in saves with
- Khayla Green is 17th with .78 walks per game.
- Peyton Ward ranks 37th in the nation in stolen bases with .55 per game.
- In the ASUN DeVault leads in runs batted in with 50 and is tied for second in home runs with nine.
- Ward is first in stolen bases with 29. Graysen Gladden is fifth with 19.
- Fortel is fourth in RBI with 34 but has the third highest total in the conference.
- Jordan has the third highest wins total with 16 but is fourth in the conference with two players tied for 17 in second place. She is second in saves with four.
With the first-round bye the Lady Bisons will not play until Thursday. They will face the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 4-seeded North Alabama and No. 5-seeded Kennesaw State.
FGCU is the No. 3 seed. North Florida is seeded No. 6.
The double-elimination tournament ends Saturday with the winner earning the ASUN’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.