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Jacksonville State (0-1)
2/10/2012 | Mobile, Ala. | Attendance: 0
Mississippi State (2-0)
2/10/2012 | Mobile, Ala. | Attendance: 237
Friday, February 10, 2012
MOBILE, Ala. – Lipscomb softball split its season-opening doubleheader at South Alabama’s Mardi Gras Invitational. The Lady Bison knocked off Jacksonville State in the opener, 2-0, before falling to Mississippi State 3-1 in the second game.
Senior Whitney Kiihnl was sterling in the season-opening game against Jacksonville State. The Batesville, Miss. native went the distance for the shut out, scattering five hits and striking out nine for her 72nd career victory.
“Whitney threw very well for us today,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “We were happy to see her get off to a good start. She knows she’s going to get everyone’s best efforts this year, so it was big for her and the team to have a good outing today.”
Lipscomb got on the board in the first inning. Following a lead-off single, junior Bree Thurman stole second and was brought around to score by senior Mollie Mitchell’s double down the right field line.
“Bree provided a spark for us,” Ryman said. “The bats got going early and we got key hits at various times throughout the day.”
A lead-off knock got things going again the third inning. Senior Caroline Mason reached on an infield single, moved to second after senior Vanessa Medina walked and advanced to third when freshman Gracey Aguirre grounded into a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Rena’ Cothron’s infield single brought Mason home for the insurance run.
Jacksonville State challenged in the sixth, loading the bases with two away. Kiihnl forced catcher Kaycee Crow to foul out to third to end the threat.
Mitchell and Mason led the attack with two hits apiece against the Gamecocks.
“That’s a good Jacksonville State team,” Ryman said. “They’re going to do well again this year.”
Game Two: Mississippi State 3, Lipscomb 1
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a quick start in the second game. Mississippi State catcher Sam Lenahan cracked a solo home run with two outs in the first inning off of Lipscomb starter Ashley Anderson to get out to an early lead.
Bats for both sides were fairly silent until the fifth inning, when Mississippi State struck again. Following a lead-off double by Brittany Bell, Anderson was lifted for Kiihnl. Two batters later, right fielder Jessica Cooley smacked a home run two left-center, driving in Bell and putting the Lady Bison down by three.
“Ashley pitched a good game for us,” Ryman said. “She gave up one big hit, and Mississippi State got another right after we made the switch.”
Lipscomb scratched a run in the sixth inning when Thurman hit a solo home run to left field, but that would account for Lipscomb’s lone run of the game.
Caroline Mason singled in the seventh, but junior lefthander Kylie Vry stymied the rally and finished the game for Mississippi State. She went the distance for the victory, allowing three hits and striking out six.
“Overall, it was a good start to the season,” Ryman said. “It’s good to pick up a win during a tournament with this caliber of opposition.
“There was some disappointment after the loss, and rightfully so. We worked hard and had a couple of things that went against us. We’ll learn from it and move forward.”
The Lady Bison will be back on the field tomorrow, when they take on second-ranked Alabama at 3 p.m.
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