Thursday, May 12, 2011
Two power pitchers that accumulated 48 wins, 670 strikeout and 21 shutouts coming into Thursday’s showdown graced the circle at Cyrill Stadium in the third game on Thursday in the 2011 Atlantic Sun Softball Championship.
Those two pitchers, USC Upstate’s Morgan Childers (29-7) and Lipscomb’s Whitney Kiihnl (19-9) both hold several pitching records for their respective schools and the duo showcased their talents as Lipscomb and Upstate batters combined for only six hits.
“Sitting on the bench, we notice that this is one of the key pitching matchups of the tournament and to see it in the second round instead of the championship game is a special thing,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman.
Kiihnl ultimately claimed a 1-0 two-hit shutout for Lipscomb, but Childers added a gem of her own with 11 strikeouts, four hits and no earned runs. For Kiihnl and Lipscomb, the win advanced the Lady Bisons two wins away from back-to-back tournament titles and gave the senior hurler her third win of the season against USC Upstate.
“It’s hard not to feel the pressure of the tournament, but you can’t think about that when you are pitching you just have to think about the present,” Kiihnl said of her pitching performance.
On March 27th, the Spartans sported a 25th-place ranking in the nation as Lipscomb strolled into town for their second A-Sun doubleheader of the season. Lipscomb left Spartanburg with two wins that were far from pitching duels as the two teams combined for 27 runs on 36 hits.
However, in today’s game one hit by Lipscomb was the difference as Courtney Billington’s double to left-centerfield and accompanying error drove in the decisive run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“We tried to threaten every inning and we tried to have runners on pretty frequently, but struggled to get that key hit until late and that credit goes to Morgan,” added Ryman.
Lipscomb moves on to face where another star pitcher – Jacksonville’s Sarah Sigrest, the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year – stands in their way to set up another great A-Sun pitching showdown.