NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the old saying goes, all’s well that ends well.
The Lipscomb softball team held on for a 6-4 win Sunday afternoon at sun-splashed Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium in the finale of the Purple and Gold Challenge.
The Lady Bisons finished 2-2 for the weekend. They are 11-4 overall. Indiana State dropped to 9-6. Georgia Southern beat ETSU 6-1 in the first game of the afternoon.
“A .500 record for the weekend was certainly not what we wanted,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “But it was a good finish, and that is what we need to take into this next week.
“We had a better warm-up for this game. We had a better energy level. That is what we challenged them with. They have the control over their energy level.”
Lipscomb struck first with three runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Hannah DeVault and Jordan Fortel and a run-producing walk by Peyton Ward.
The Lady Bisons added one more in the fourth when Caitlin Turner scored on an error by the second baseman.
In the fifth Lipscomb tacked on a pair of runs on a two-RBI single up the middle by Turner.
“No moment seems too big for Caitlin,” Ryman said. “She just goes out and does what she does.”
Mandy Jordan extended her unbeaten record to 7-0. In 6.1 innings she scattered nine hits and gave up four runs, all earned. She struck out five and did not walk a batter.
“Mandy wasn’t quite sharp,” Ryman said. “Near the end they were making better adjustments against her. She knows she can be sharper.”
A three-run homer by Brooke Mann that bounced off the top of the center field fence with one out in the seventh prompted Ryman to replace Jordan with Megan Gray in the circle. Gray closed out the game facing two batters.
“We saw it all weekend,” Ryman said. “Indiana State is the kind of team that is not going to give in. They keep fighting back. We knew they weren’t going to roll over after we got the lead.”
Indiana State used three pitchers. Starter Arielle Blankenship allowed three hits and three runs, all earned while walking one and striking out two in 2.1 innings. Della Gher threw two innings and gave up four hits and three runs, all earned. She walked four and did not have a strikeout. Abbey Kruzel hurled the final 1.2 innings, giving up one hit and striking out one batter.
“I am proud of our hitters,” Ryman said. “I thought we did a much better job of making adjustments. We left some runners on in the first couple of innings, but in the middle innings we did a better job. We put a lot of runs on the board considering the number of hits we had.
“Overall we hit the ball much better than we did Saturday. It was good to see they used three different pitchers against us and each time we kept making adjustments.”
The Sycamores boosted the Lipscomb offense by committing three errors.
“Indiana State made a couple of mistakes defensively which certainly helped us in key situations,” Ryman said. “As a team, you have to take advantage of those mistakes and cash those in.”
- Ryman admits her players may have been a little bit distracted. They were getting updates on the Bisons’ basketball team in the ASUN title game at Florida Gulf Coast. Ryman raised her hand in the air while standing in the third base coaches’ box after the Bisons won to punch their ticket to the “Big Dance."“We were keeping track,” Ryman said. “It was awesome. We wanted to pay attention to our game, but the girls were excited.
- Gray earned the save, her first of the season, and the first for the pitching staff. It was also Gray’s first career collegiate save.
- “It is such a cool thing for men’s basketball and for the school. Casey (Alexander) and the team have fought so hard.” “That was huge for her and huge for the team,” Ryman said
- Turner, Green and Ward each had one stolen base.
- Ward has a two-game hitting streak, her longest of the season.
- Fortel has three multi-hit games.
- Tuner has two multiple-RBI games.
The Lady Bisons play their first mid-week game of the season at 3 on the road at Tennessee Tech.