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Thursday, April 21, 2011Whitney Kiihnl and Ali Watson tossed a combined 14 shutout innings and Vanessa Medina and Courtney Billington homered as Lipscomb took both games of a pivotal double-header against Kennesaw State at Draper Diamond Thursday.
Lipscomb edged the Owls 1-0 in the nightcap behind a strong outing from Watson after winning game one 2-0 behind a 13-strikeout performance from Kiihnl.
With the two wins on Thursday, the Lady Bisons (25-17, 12-4 A-Sun) punched their ticket to the A-Sun Tournament for the fifth straight year. Lipscomb has finished in the top-6 of the conference regular season in six of the last seven years.
Both games of the double-header moved along at a quick pace, with excellent pitching from both teams dominating the game.
“I am very pleased with how we pitched and played defensively tonight,” head coach Kristin Ryman said. “We knew coming into tonight that we would have to pitch well in both games against Kennesaw’s lineup because of their ability to put up runs.”
“Whitney and Ali were outstanding for us tonight,” Ryman said. “They attacked hitters all night and gave us a great chance to win both games. “We were fortunate that of the few hits that we had in both games, they came in big situations or off a home run.”
Game Two: Lipscomb 1, Kennesaw State 0
Ali Watson threw 6.1 innings of scoreless softball and Courtney Billington’s second-inning, solo home run was all the Lady Bisons needed as Lipscomb slipped by Kennesaw 1-0 in game two of the double-header.
The Owls (26-22, 8-8 A-Sun) outhit the Lady Bisons 4-2 in the nightcap but Billington’s second inning jack proved to be the difference maker. The home run was Billington’s sixth round-tripper of the year and was the only extra-base hit by either team in the game.
Watson (6-3) struck out four and walked two while surrendering four hits in 6.1 scoreless innings.
With runners on first and second with one out in the top of the seventh, Ryman turned to Kiihnl to face the bottom of the Owl order to close out the game.
Things got interesting for a second when KSU pinch-hitter Catherine Tarvin laced the first-pitch she saw from Kiihnl down the left-field line before it fell inches into foul territory. Had the ball been fair it would have tied the game.
Kiihnl went on to strike out Tarvin and the next batter to earn the save and give the Lady Bisons a 1-0 win in the nightcap.
Game One: Lipscomb 2, Kennesaw State 0
Whitney Kiihnl struck out 13 over seven shutout innings and runs in the first and sixth innings were all the Lady Bisons needed as Lipscomb took game one over Kennesaw 2-0.
The Lady Bisons took an early 1-0 in the first inning when Caroline Mason drove in Bre Thurman with a one-out RBI-single to center. Thurman led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second on Mollie Mitchell’s one-out walk.
The game remained 1-0 through the first five innings as Kiihnl and Kennesaw starter, Jessica Cross carved up both team’s lineup.
Lipscomb added to its lead in the sixth, as Vanessa Medina belted one off the facing of the scoreboard in right-center for her sixth round-tripper of the year.
With a 2-0 lead, Kiihnl fanned four Owl hitters in the final two innings to earn her 17th win of the year.
The Lady Bisons will host Mercer Friday in conference double-header action at Draper Diamond. Friday’s twinbill versus Mercer will begin at 4 p.m. central and can be heard for free on the Lipscomb Sports Network. It will also be televised on A-Sun TV.