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March 16, 20161234567RHE
Win: SANDERS (7-6) 7.031122
Loss: Downing (3-1) 5.175412
ELMORE (LIP) 412000
Holloway (WKU) 211010
Parker (WKU) 301100
McGuffin (WKU) 301000
March 16, 20161234567RHE
Win: YOUNG (5-4) 7.020058
Loss: Parker (5-7) 7.0533211
HIGGINS (LIP) 422201
Parker (WKU) 201010
Downing (WKU) 301000
Higgins powers softball to doubleheader sweep
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
By Mark McGee
Higgins powers softball to doubleheader sweep

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Sarah Higgins proved to be the power center driving the Lipscomb softball team to a doubleheader sweep.

Wednesday night Higgins blasted a grand slam as the Lady Bisons beat Western Kentucky 5-1 in game one. She added a two-run homer in the nightcap in a 3-0 Lipscomb win.

“Sarah had some big hits and helped us widen the leads when we needed to do it,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “She explodes when she hits the ball. She has a lot of natural power in her swing. Her swing creates a lot of lift on the ball.

“She has worked hard on her mental game as well. She is making adjustments late in a game and that is difficult to do, especially for a freshman.”

The Lady Bisons, 14-12, have won their last three games in a row. Western Kentucky slips to 8-12.

In game two Kelly Young went the distance. Young, 5-4, allowed only two hits while walking five and striking out eight. She struck out the final three batters she faced in the seventh.

“Kelly was tremendous,” Ryman said. “She kept grinding it out. She never seemed to waver. She really controlled the game and did a nice job from the get-go.”

Lipscomb scored a run in the second inning when Young singled home Higgins who had opened the inning with a single to center.

In the sixth Abby Fenichel singled to third base and scored on the homer by Higgins to center field.

Lipscomb finished with five hits with Fenichel and Higgins each connecting for two.

Game one

In game one Higgins grand slam over the left center field fence came with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.

The game was tied 1-1 until the shot by Higgins.

Western Kentucky struck in the first inning with one run on a pair of singles.

Lipscomb starter Tanner Sanders did not allow another run in the game, retiring the last eight batters she faced.

Lipscomb tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning. Baylee Williams reached base on a fielder’s choice. Caitlin Plocheck doubled to score Williams.

The Lady Bisons connected for seven hits. Plocheck and Brittany Elmore were the only players in the game with more than one hit. They each finished with two.

Sanders, 7-6, struck out two, walked two and hit one batter. She gave up only three hits.

“What was really cool about it was we had two really good performances from Kelly and Tanner,” Ryman said. “Tanner has done a great job all season long. What helped Tanner is she limited her walks and the freebies.”

Both pitchers also benefited from a strong defensive effort behind them.

“We had a number of phenomenal defensive plays,” Ryman said. “Dee Baddley robbed a home run in left field in the second game. Kasey Gibson threw out a runner from right field to third base after a leadoff double.

“Those are things we were doing that don’t show up in the stat sheets. I don’t know if all season long we have a game where we have played so solid behind out pitchers. It was definitely a clean night overall. We are proud of the two wins.”

Base hits

  • This was the first grand slam in Higgins’ college career. She has a team-leading seven home runs.
  • Higgins has six multi-RBI game and her season high in runs batted in.
  • Higgins extended her hitting streak to a team-high 12 games.
  • Higgins is the first Lipscomb player to reach 20 runs batted in this season. She had six for the night and 22 for the season.
  • Fenichel was hit by a pitch for the eighth time this season in game one.
  • Brittany Elmore stole two bases in game two and leads the team with 14.
  • This was the third shutout of the season for the Lady Bisons.
  • Destinee Brewer stole her eighth base of the season.

Next up: The Lady Bisons open the Atlantic Sun portion of the season Saturday and Sunday when USC Upstate, the defending conference champions, visit Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.

Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1. Sunday’s game also has a 1 p.m. start.