By MARK MCGEE
TROY, Ala. – Almost perfect.
Really, really close to perfect.
Almost as close to perfect as you can get as a pitcher.
Lipscomb senior right-hander Megan Gray gave up a single to open Sunday afternoon’s game with College of Charleston. She then retired the next 21 hitters in order, including five strikeouts, on the way to a 1-0 shutout in the final day of the Troy Classic.
Lipscomb is 2-1. Gray has been the winner in both games. College of Charleston falls to 0-4.
“Megan was really, really great and she was all weekend,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “To have such a strong performance at the end of a long weekend says a lot about where she is right now.
“The wind was blowing pretty hard. There were some balls that were decently well-hit that hung in the air for both teams. That affected the offense a little bit on both sides.”
No one mentioned to Gray anything about her perfection in the circle each inning.
“Megan just kept finding ways to get outs,” Ryman said. “The defense, other than the error on the single, made good plays behind her.
“She got in a groove and continued to roll. She was hitting her spots. She was consistently getting ahead in the count. She was attacking hitters. She went right at them. She was very confident.”
Lipscomb’s Caitlin Turner led off the second inning with a triple down the left field line. After one out Jenna Endris drove a single up the middle to bring in Turner with the lone run of the game.
Chandler Sparkman, 0-2, went the distance for the loss. She struck out six, allowed three hits and did not walk a batter.
Ryman would have preferred to see more offense from her team in the Charleston game.
“It was kind of one of those frustrating wins,” Ryman said. “Offensively, we are just having a slow start. We were thanking the good Lord Megan was on our team.”
The Lady Bisons struggled at the plate all weekend, but Ryman is confident they are going to find a hitting groove.
“I can see our hitters getting a little anxious,” Ryman said. “They are chasing too many pitches out of the zone. They are taking some good pitches early in the count. We haven’t really settled yet.”
Around the bases:
- Hannah DeVault singled in the first inning. She has hits in two of the first three games.
- Caitlin Turner’s triple was the first of her collegiate career. It is also the first of the season for the Lady Bisons and only their second extra base hit. Presley Leebrick hit a double in the 2-0 loss to Troy Friday.
- The shutout is the first of the season for both Gray and for the Lady Bisons.
The Lady Bisons are back on the road Feb. 14-16 in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Chattanooga Challenge.
They will play Marshall at 10 a.m. followed by Ohio at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.