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March 21, 20151234567RHE
Win: YOUNG (6-8) 7.0433610
Loss: BRANDT (7-4) 6.010101041
DRURY (STET) 402000
NEELY (LIP) 323210
March 21, 20151234567RHE
Win: HOSTETLER (11-3) 7.030050
Loss: SANDERS (6-7) 7.054435
DRURY (STET) 401100
MEZA (STET) 211111
HAWN (STET) 311000
NEELY (LIP) 201010
Softball splits A-Sun doubleheader with Stetson
Saturday, March 21, 2015
By Mark McGee
Softball splits A-Sun doubleheader with Stetson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was the best of times and the worst of times for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team in its Atlantic Sun opener.

Softball didn’t exist when Charles Dickens wrote those lines. But they perfectly describe Saturday’s doubleheader with Stetson at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. After opening with a 10-3 win, they lost 4-0 in the nightcap.

“Stetson is a team we have a lot of respect for,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “They have a team that consistently fights.

“They are not going to get beat in game one and roll over in game two. They are going to fight back and that is exactly what we did.”

Game One

After spotting Stetson three runs in the first in game one, the Lady Bisons answer with four runs in the bottom of the inning and never trailed again.

They added three runs in the fourth and three in the sixth to close out the game.

“We set the tone in the bottom of the first inning,” Ryman said.

Lipscomb shortstop Paige Neely led with a game high three hits. She added a pair of RBI.

Abby Fenichel added a two-RBI double to center in the first.

Brianne Welch led off the sixth inning with a solo home run to left center. Gracey Aguirre added a two-run home run with two outs in the sixth. Aguirre finished with a game-high three RBI.

The Lady Bisons connected for 10 hits.

Kelly Young, 6-8, went the distance for the Lady Bisons. She scattered four hits. She struck out 10 and walked six. She also hit a batter.

“I thought game one was the perfect display of everything we have been building up to this season,” Ryman said. “We put all the tough preseason scheduling into action against a good Stetson team.

“I thought Kelly did a tremendous job pitching. At the end of the first inning she started finding her groove.”

Game Two

In game two the Lady Bisons managed only three hits with Neely, Mimi Cartwright and Abby Fenichel each pounded out singles.

“I thought in the second game their pitcher was having trouble finding the zone early,” Ryman said. “I thought we were doing a good of being patient in the first couple of innings. We had a game plan and we were sticking to it.

“When we had bases loaded in the first inning and didn’t score was not good. But we knew we were getting runners on. In the second inning we stranded runners at second and third. Getting runners on was great, but leaving them on base swung the momentum back to Stetson.”

Stetson put together four runs in the third, including a solo home run by Demi Meza.

“Once they scored we started changing our game plan a little bit,” Ryman said. “We started changing our mentality.

“We were still up in the dugout. We were still making good plays defensively. But I thought offensively we got out of our rhythm.

“They came out and scored the four runs. But we didn’t have to change what we were doing. We needed to keep getting runners on and then finding a way to score them.”

Stetson starter Chelsea Hostetler did not strike out a Lipscomb batter and walked five.

Tanners Sanders, 6-7, started for the Lady Bisons. She allowed six hits. She struck out five and walked three.

The Lady Bisons are 12-15, 1-1 in the A-Sun. Stetson is also 1-1 in the conference, 18-7 overall.

Quick hits:

  • Welch and Aguirre are roommates with power as each one blasted a home run in the sixth inning of game one. They each have three for the season.
  • Elmore has stolen 23 bases on 23 attempts. She is three thefts away from tying her total for last season.
  • Young is averaging slightly more than one strikeout an inning with 88 in 87.1 innings.
  • Neely’s seven-game hitting streak is the longest current streak on the team and the longest on the team so far this season.
  • Neely has reached base in her last seven games. Welch and Elmore have each reached base in the last six games.

On Deck:

The third game of the series begins at 1 p.m.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Hostetler again,” Ryman said. “We have to be smarter. We have to stick to our game plan and execute it. We can’t let what Stetson does dictate what we do at the plate.”

The Lady Bisons will be back at home Tuesday for a nonconference doubleheader with Western Kentucky beginning at 2 p.m.