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Lady Bisons looking for timely hits
Bree Thurman
Bree Thurman

Monday, April 04, 2011

Base hits are a good thing. Timely base hits that score runs are even better.

Friday the Lady Bisons split an Atlantic Sun doubleheader with Campbell, winning game one 8-1 and losing game two 5-3. The Lady Bisons had 10 hits in game one and nine in game two.

Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman replayed the loss over and over in her head this past weekend. One problem stood out.

“We struggled getting that big hit when we needed it,” Ryman said. “The one thing that stood out to me was not that we played bad, or that our pitching let us down or that our hitting let us down. The bottom line is that we left too many runners on base.”

Tuesday at 5 the Lady Bisons will be working to remedy that problem when they make the short trip to Murfreesboro to play Middle Tennessee State in a doubleheader at Blue Raider Field.

Middle Tennessee, a Sun Belt team, is 11-23 overall. The Lady Bisons are 18-12. Middle Tennessee holds a 12-11 edge overall in the series.

“We don’t want the girls to put pressure on themselves in those situations,” Ryman said. “But we have a group that is aggressive enough and tough enough mentally to rise to the occasion when those situations do come about.

“From one through nine anyone on our team can punch a single through the infield and pick up one RBI. And then we have others that can get the bigger hits. We have shown power at times.”

Ryman is stressing to her players to be smart with their pitch selection and knowing what the pitcher is trying to do.

“When we have bases loaded or runners at second and third a lot of times the pitcher is going to try to attack the batter early because she doesn’t want to give up a walk,” Ryman said. “If we can know that we can step into the box and be the aggressor.

“We talk a lot with our girls that in those situations the pressure is not on them. It is on the pitcher to not give up the big hit. If they will think about it that way it will relax them in the box. The weight of the world is not on their shoulders.”

Ryman stresses to her players that being aggressive at the plate doesn’t mean swinging at the first pitch.

“A lot of it is understanding the type of pitcher you are facing,” Ryman said. “It is about being aggressive at the right time. It is something we are still working with.”

Bree Thurman leads the team in hitting with a .361 average. Caroline Mason is second at .337. Mason leads the Lady Bisons in slugging percentage at .639 and Thurman is second at .590.

Mollie Mitchell leads the team with 31 runs batted in and six home runs. Four players _ Thurman, Mason, Vanessa Medina and Courtney Billington _ are tied with five home runs each.

“We have had tons and tons of improvement the past couple of weeks, especially in the batter’s box,” Ryman said. “I am very pleased with where we are at this point.

“We’ve got to continue to remember we have a great group of hitters. There is not any one hitter that has to carry us. No one has to feel like they have to do it all.”

The Lady Bisons return to Atlantic Sun action this weekend at Draper Diamond. Jacksonville visits Friday at 4 and North Florida will be on campus Saturday at 1.

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