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February 14, 20161234567RHE
Southern Miss0010000150
Win: SANDERS (1-1) 7.051125
Loss: ROBLES (1-2) 6.1106604
ELMORE (LIP) 413100
CLEARY (USM) 202100
Softball breaks through for first win
Sunday, February 14, 2016
By Mark McGee
Softball breaks through for first win

GULF SHORES, Ala. – The Lipscomb softball team showcased its power in a 6-1 win over Southern Miss in the final game of the Sand Dollar Classic.

“We finished in a good spot,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “I thought we did a nice job of continuing to fight. That was the biggest takeaway from Saturday night. We talked about the fight we saw late in those games and how we wanted to see more of that.

“We struggled to make adjustments (at the plate). That is something this young team is going to have to learn to do quickly. It is not easy, but if a pitcher beats you in your first at bat you have to find a way to make adjustments.”

Trailing 1-0 in the sixth Sunday afternoon at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex the Lady Bisons loaded the bases to open the inning with singles by Destinee Brewer, Brittany Elmore and Kasey Gibson. But the next two batters made outs.

Abby Fenichel stepped to the plate and connected for a double to right center to bring Brewer, Elmore and Gibson across the plate.

“Abby and Sarah came through with the big hits,” Ryman said. “It was a really clutch moment for Abby. Then Sarah followed it up with the two-run homer. The top through the bottom of the lineup performed well.”

But the Lady Bisons weren’t finished. Sarah Higgins slammed a two-run homer over the center field fence to also bring in Fenichel.

In the seventh Lipscomb added an insurance run. Elmore singled through the right side to bring in Brewer for her second run of the game.

Lipscomb right-hander Tanner Sanders (1-1) won her first game of the season. In seven innings she struck out five, walked two and allowed five hits.

“Tanner was in the zone early on,” Ryman said. “I thought she did a good job of keeping her composure. Two of her strikeouts came in the last inning and they were both looking.”

The Lady Bisons finished with 11 hits, a season game high.

Ryman and her staff plan to work on mechanics as the plate and the mental game on the field this week.

“We want to focus on seeing the top half of the ball,” Ryman said. “We are missing under the ball quite a bit right now. That may have something to do with the pitching we were facing.

“We have to continue to develop our confidence. We have a lot of youth and inexperience. We only have three position players who are upperclassmen. We have to make sure we are working with a purpose.”

The Lady Bisons are off Monday, but Ryman and her staff have issued a challenged to the players to work hard in the areas where they need to improve.

“Now that they have some actual results to see where they are they will be more motivated in practice,” Ryman said. “The ones who didn’t have as good a weekend as they would have wanted will be wanting to improve. And those that did have a good weekend will want to keep it going.

“We have to continue to improve defensively as well. We made some mistakes that we need to try to eliminate. We have to work on mental mistakes. We have to be able to make plays behind our pitchers. We are going to keep the energy high and find ways to get better.”

Extra bases:

  • Elmore finished with a season-high three hits against Southern Miss.
  • Gibson and Brewer each had two hits
  • Elmore has a five-game hitting streak.
  • It was the first collegiate home run for Higgins and her first two-RBI game.
  • Fenichel drove in three runs for the second game in a row.
  • Only two players failed to get at least one hit.

Next up: The Lady Bisons are back on the road this weekend when they head north to Chicago for the Total Control Sports Invitational which will be played in an indoor facility.