FORT MYERS, Fla. – The most impressive number for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons could not be found on the scoreboard.
Friday afternoon the top-seeded Lady Bisons shut down No.2-seeded Liberty 3-0 to move into the finals of the ASUN Tournament at the FGCU Softball Complex. It was the 40th win of the season for Lipscomb marking the third time a team coached by Ryman has won 40 or more games.
In 2014 the Lady Bisons won 41. In 2010 Ryman’s team recorded 50 victories, a career season high.
Lipscomb is 40-13-1. Liberty falls to 37-19. The Lady Bisons have won 12 in a row and 19 of their last 20.
“Forty is special,” Ryman said. “It just is. It is a neat number to reach.
“This team has worked so hard. There is something about this team that is so enjoyable to be around. There is so much joy about how they are approaching the games right now. It is fun to watch.”
Megan Gray, 8-2, went the distance for Lipscomb. She allowed only three hits, struck out five and walked one.
After loading the bases in the first inning, Gray pitched stronger with each inning. She retired the last 14 batters she faced in order.
“I am so impressed with what Megan is doing right now,” Ryman said. “This is the Megan we knew we had all along.
“Getting through that first inning was a turning point for Megan. She just came right back at them in the second and at that point I knew she was going to fine. She was trusting her pitches. She was hitting her spots with movement.”
Chase Cassady, 13-3, took the loss for Liberty. She threw 4.1 innings and gave up two hits. She struck out five and walked two.
None of the three runs Cassady gave up were earned. In the third Lipscomb picked up a pair of runs. Amy Vetula walked, and Destinee Brewer put down a sac bunt that sent Vetula to third. Liberty’s catcher threw the ball into right field trying to get Brewer at first. That allowed Vetula to score on the error. Brewer scored on a sac bunt by Graysen Gladden.
In the fifth Vetula reached base on a single to second. She moved to second on a throwing error. Gladden hit a foul ball sacrifice fly to left field to score Vetula.
Julia DiMartino closed out the game for Liberty with no hits or runs, one walk and two strikeouts in 1.3 innings.
“My approach going into this game was Liberty pitches extremely well,” Ryman said. “The top of their order is as good as anybody in the league.
“I knew if we got runners on, we had to be aggressive if that option was presented to us. The players we were getting on base were Destinee Brewer, Amy Vetula and Graysen Gladden.
“They were those kids who had that speed and it gave us the opportunity to play small ball and really put pressure on Liberty to have to make plays. I thought we did a great job of executing and they made a couple of mistakes we capitalized on. That is what you need to do in these games.”
- Gladden and Vetula each have nine-game hitting streaks.
- Hannah DeVault has reached base safely in 23 straight games, walking twice in the Liberty game. Vetula has reached base safely in 10 games and Gladden in nine.
- This was the fourth shutout for Gray and her seventh complete game.
- Lipscomb has won its first two games in the tournament for the first time since 2013.
- The last time the Lady Bisons advanced to the championship game was 2015.
Weather conditions and team outcomes leave Lipscomb’s opponent uncertain. Stay posted for updates.