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WKU Lady Toppers (28-19-1)
4/25/2012 | Bowling Green, Ky. | Attendance: 228
WKU Lady Toppers (28-20-1)
4/25/2012 | Bowling Green, Ky. | Attendance: 228
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – What a difference a game makes.
After a rough opening-game 6-2 loss to Western Kentucky, the Lady Bisons held a meeting in the outfield. No coaches, just the players sorting some things out before game two of the doubleheader.
Whatever was said worked, because Lipscomb stormed back to take game two 5-4 and reclaim some of the spark that’s made them a 31-17 ballclub going into the final weekend of Atlantic Sun play. Western Kentucky moves to 28-20-1.
“Our girls got tired of the way we’ve been playing,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “They were frustrated and knew we were frustrated, so between games they did what I’d been hoping they’d do for a long time. Some of the older girls took the initiative, held a huddle and said what they needed to say.”
Neither side would push across a run until the third inning of game one. After a lead-off double by Western Kentucky’s Katrina Metoyer, Senior Whitney Kiihnl retired the next two hitters before Kelsie Mattox roped a double off the right field wall to score Metoyer from second.
A four-run fifth-inning for the Lady Toppers would spelled doom for Lipscomb in the opener. Mallorie Sulaski, who entered as an injury replacement, laid down a bunt single to get things started, followed by a Mattox hit-by-pitch.
After Karavin Dew moved the runners up with a sac bunt, Ashley Thomas lined a single off the chest of Bridgette Begle, scoring Sulaski. A throwing error on Thomas’ steal attempt scored Mattox, Preslie Cruce blasted a two-run homer to centerfield to cap off a big Lady Toppers inning.
Lipscomb would get one back in the sixth on a Mollie Mitchell single up the middle that scored Kiihnl, who led the inning off with a single of her own.
Mattox would add to her day in the home half of the sixth with a solo homer to right-center.
Sophomore Haley Elliott hit an even deeper bomb in the top of the seventh, but her solo shot would be all the Lady Bisons would get as the rally fell short.
It’s the first three-game losing streak for Lipscomb since March 2-3; as part of the Citrus Classic, the Lady Bisons lost to South Alabama, Penn State and Ball State.
Kiihnl allowed a season high-tying nine hits, and the most earned runs she’d given up since March 11 against MTSU. She struck out four.
Elliott went 2-for-3 with her season’s 10th home run.
Game Two – Lipscomb 5, Western Kentucky 4
The Lady Bisons got on the board first in the second game. Freshman Gracey Aguirre opened the scoring with a bloop single in the third that fell between three infielders to score Kiihnl.
The next batter, junior Kelsey Cartwright, continued her assault on the Lipscomb record books with a two-run home run to left-center. The homer was her 14th this season, tying her for second in a single-season with current assistant coach Heather Collins and Abby Keese.
The Lady Toppers had an answer in the home half on a Mattox double that scored Cruce.
The Lady Bisons got two more in the sixth on some timely base-running. Pinch-running for Aguirre, Brianne Welch stole second and advanced to third on a Cartwright single.
When Cartwright attempted to steal second, the throw down was cut off to keep Welch at third. Cartwright stopped running, inducing a rundown that allowed Welch to steal home and Cartwright to steal second as well.
Cartwright would later score on a wild pitch.
“Against good teams, you have to find a way to manufacture runs sometimes,” Ryman said. “We tried the same things last night against UAB. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it works against you. Sometimes you have to take those risks and force things to happen.”
Western Kentucky got one back in the sixth. Mattox singled and advanced to third on an errant throw that went into the third-base dugout. She scored on a Thomas ground out.
The Lady Toppers weren’t going quietly into the night. At two outs in the seventh, Sulaski and pinch-hitter Taylor Borders hit back-to-back singles to keep the inning alive. They were rewarded with a two-run double from Cruce to cut the lead to one.
Anderson, who danced in and out of trouble all game, came up big in a jam once again. She struck out Mattox, who had two big games against the Lady Bisons, to end the game. She threw her third complete game in a row, allowing just three earned runs despite 12 hits and striking out five to earn her 10th victory.
“I thought we came out in the second game with a lot of the spark that characterizes our team,” Ryman said. “We haven’t been that team in a while, even in some of our wins. We got outhit, had more errors but we fought and fought and found ways to get runs when we needed them.”
With no Atlantic Sun action this weekend, the Lady Bisons will have an extended break prior to Senior Day against USC Upstate (May 4) and the A-Sun regular-season finale against ETSU (May 5).