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Lady Bisons hosts JU, UNF in pivotal weekend series

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Lady Bisons will look to shake off a three-game losing streak this weekend in what should be a pivotal home stand against two A-Sun teams from the River City.
 
Lipscomb will face Jacksonville in a double-header on Friday night beginning at 4 p.m.  The Lady Bisons will turn right around and take on North Florida in a double-header Saturday at 1 p.m.

Lipscomb is coming off two disappointing losses to MTSU Wednesday night.  Head coach Kristin Ryman said she thought her team had an off night.

“Wednesday didn’t go exactly how we had planned obviously,” Ryman said.  “We talked after the games about having to come out and approach every game the same way.  We have had quite a few games this year when we have been so fired up in the dugout, that it didn’t matter who we were playing, we were going to be in the game and have a shot to win.”

“I didn’t feel like we had that same approach against MTSU and I think it’s something that we have to get back to if we want to continue to stay at the top of the conference.”

The three-game losing streak for Lipscomb is the first since dropping four in a row back in February.   The Lady Bisons had won eight consecutive games prior to the recent skid.  

With 14 of the final 18 games being Atlantic Sun contests, Ryman said it was imperative for the girls to get back to playing with enthusiasm and remembering the goals they set for this season.  

“It is a huge weekend for us,” Ryman said. “I feel like every weekend in conference from here on out is going to be that way. Our girls just have to stay focused on what we are doing and remember that they play this game because they love to play.  They need to continue to approach it that way and not let the midseason grind get to them.”

Jacksonville enters this weekend’s series with a perfect 8-0 record in the Atlantic Sun.  The Dolphins are 28-12 overall and are riding an impressive 10-game winning streak.  

North Florida comes into this weekend with a 19-20 overall record and a 3-5 clip in the Atlantic Sun.  The Ospreys are coming off a sweep over ETSU last weekend.

“Jacksonville is obviously a big obstacle in the way right now,” Ryman said.  “They are off to a great start and are 8-0 right now.  They are pitching and hitting very well.”

“UNF is kind of a whole new team this year.  They have got a ton of new players and very few returners from last year.  We are going in a little more blind with them than we normally would.”

Lipscomb will rely heavily on All-American junior Whitney Kiihnl this weekend when she takes to the hill.  She is 14-7 on the year with an impressive 1.45 ERA.  Wednesday’s loss to MTSU was Kiihnl’s first loss since losing to Georgia Tech back on March 19th.  

Ryman expects Kiihnl to be ready for the weekend and said the team plays with great intensity when she is on the mound.
 
“Whitney is one of those players who is extremely talented.  For her, she has to keep telling herself that she is a good pitcher, and know that she is.  Our team plays very confident behind her.  Here of lately she has been battling some confidence issues and we are working through those.  She is a kid that we have all the confidence in the world to give her the ball and know that she is going to give us a chance to win every single time out.”

Lipscomb will need a complete team effort this weekend in order to get back on course and begin another win streak.  Ryman said that she hopes her team goes in with the right mindset and plays with passion.  

“When we play that way we are an extremely tough team to beat,” Ryman said.  “When we play that way we keep the pressure on other teams, and I think we have got to get back to that mindset.  We need to go into this weekend knowing that we are the underdog again against Jacksonville.”

“We have got to go into it and just fight and fight to defend our home turf.” We need to find a way to win four games this weekend.”

Friday night’s double-header can be seen on A-Sun Television.  The game will also be available for free at Lipscombsports.com with Benjamin Seamon and Brittany Thompson on the call.