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Lady Bisons sweep Florida Gulf Coast 4-1, 6-0
Whitney Kiihnl
Whitney Kiihnl

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Lady Bisons used two solid pitching performances to sweep Florida Gulf Coast 4-1 and 6-0 Saturday afternoon at Draper Diamond.

Whitney Kiihnl struck out an individual season-high 17 batters in game one. Alaina Jacobson pitched game two and threw her third shutout and third complete game.

The Lady Bisons swept all four Atlantic Sun games at home this weekend. They shut down Stetson 5-0 and 1-0 Friday night.

“We had two great performances from Whitney the last two days as a starter and then came back in relief to help us close the door on Stetson Friday,” Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. ‘This was an outstanding performance by Alaina. She kept them off pace the whole game.

“The top part of their order is as strong as anybody’s in the conference. I can’t say enough about the job she did to keep them off balance. When Florida Gulf Coast gets on base is when they start wreaking havoc.”

The Lady Bisons are 37-9 overall, 14-2 in the Atlantic Sun. Florida Gulf Coast dropped to 22-28, 10-8 in the conference.

Kiihnl, 24-2, only gave up three hits in game one. She also walked four. Her 17 strikeouts are one shy of tying her career high of 18 set April 17, 2009 against Mercer in 10 innings.

“Whitney dominated,” Ryman said. “I can’t enough about what a difference-maker she is for us when she is throwing like that on the mound. It allows our hitters to relax at the plate.”

The Lady Bisons collected seven hits, all singles. They also had four stolen bases. Lauren Dortwegt and Courtney Billington each had two hits for the Lady Bisons.

In game two Jacobson gave up only four hits. She struck out five and walked one as she raised her record to 3-3.

“Florida Gulf Coast had never seen Alaina pitch before,” Ryman said. “We gave them something they have never seen before and something that maybe they weren’t quite expecting.

“We had gone to Christen Campbell a lot lately. We felt like it was a good move to go with Alaina. The shutout is huge. In conference games Florida Gulf Coast has been hitting well.”

The Lady Bisons scored all of their runs in the fourth inning. With one out Abby Keese homered, her 12th of the season.

She is only two short of tying her career season high of 14, a total she has set twice.

“Abby has the ability to hit a home run every time she is at the plate,” Ryman said. “She is such a presence in the box for us from a power standpoint. No one wants to throw to her.

“One of the things we have talked about that one-through-nine there is not a player on our team that other teams want to face. There is no one in our line-up that you can jump over. There are no easy outs.”

The rest of the fourth inning proved that point. After Keese's homer Kellie Sirus walked. Billington singled. Sirus moved to third and Billington went to second on the throw. Campbell grounded out. Mollie Mitchell walked to load the bases. Florida Gulf Coast removed starting pitcher Kelci Breaux and replaced her with Stephanie Sullivan.

Sullivan walked BreeThurman, the first batter she faced, to bring home Sirus. Kiihnl put down a bunt single and advanced to second on an error by the first baseman. Billington and Mitchell scored on the play. Dortwegt singled to bring in Kiihnl and Thurman to close out the scoring.

The Lady Bisons are back in action Tuesday when Alabama-Birmingham visits Draper Diamond. The first game of the doubleheader starts at 3. This is a make-up of a doubleheader that was postponed due to weather conditions earlier in the season.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.