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Pitchers are putting up solid numbers for Lady Bisons

Thursday, April 05, 2007

April 5, 2007

Most of the talk about the Lady Bisons softball team's success this season has centered on the hitting ability of the players.

But the Lady Bisons also have a trio of pitchers that are putting together solid numbers Kim Jacobson, a junior, provides the leadership. Freshman Christen Campbell is the statistical leader. Freshman Christy Grisham has been called upon for relief.

The Lady Bisons are on the road at Gardner-Webb Friday at 1 p.m. and then go to ETSU Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader in a busy weekend of Atlantic Sun games.

Campbell is ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 2.30 earned run average and a 13-6 record. She has made 24 appearances, starting 19 games, both third highest in the conference. She has thrown 16 complete games, second best in the A-Sun.

"Christen has the mentality that if we need her to throw she is ready to throw," Lipscomb coach Kristin Peck said. "She pitched a lot of innings in high school. She pitched a lot of innings on her summer team. She is just a gamer.

"But she has worn down at times this year. We have been able to tell when she is getting tired. She usually throws well and keeps us in games and gives us a chance to win."

Campbell is fourth in the conference in strikeouts with 111, 5.42 per game, but her strength is her ability to force batters to swing at bad pitches and put the ball in play.

"She has a good command of her pitches," Peck said. "The movement on her ball is good. That is another reason she is tough to beat. What we have seen is when people do put the ball in play against her it is usually not a hard hit ball. She will get some strikeouts, but for the most part she lets the defense work behind her.

"She loves the game. She is a great student of the game. She understands the game. She wants to be on the field all the time."

Jacobson and Campbell are tied for fifth in the conference in shutouts with three each. Jacobson is 7-8 with 17 appearances and 15 starts. She has posted a 4.75 ERA.

"Kim has been a leader this year," Peck said. "She also let's the defense worked behind her. She gets a lot of groundouts. She is confident. She knows when she is on. And she knows when one of her pitches might not be working that well. We have been getting good outings out of her lately."

Grisham, 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA, has been used primarily in relief. Peck admits that she and her staff weren't certain where Grisham would fit as a freshman. She has made 10 appearances, three as a starter.

"We knew the potential was there," Peck said. "We knew her style of pitching was a little different than Christen's or Kim's style. We didn't want three pitchers who were the same."

"Right now, she is helping us in a closer's type of role. That is perfect for her right now. If she can gain some confidence in bits and pieces this season we will expect a lot more from her next year."

That difference in style has paid dividends as she relieves for Campbell and Jacobson.

"Her strongest pitches are different than our other pitchers," Peck said. "She is a little quicker. She can come in and put a little more on the ball. That makes it tough for batters to get their timing down as they see different pitches from her. She has been very effective when she comes in and throws strikes."