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Alabama State (2-17)
3/11/2012 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 233
Middle Tennessee (6-9)
3/11/2012 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 207
Sunday, March 11, 2012
It was Whitney Kiihnl’s moment, but it was Ashley Anderson’s day.
Kiihnl entered Sunday afternoon’s game with MTSU at Draper Diamond needing three strikeouts to become just the third Atlantic Sun Conference softball pitcher to reach that milestone.
She struck out the side in the first inning and was given the game ball by catcher Mollie Mitchell.
‘I think Whitney was completely unaware of it, which doesn’t surprise me at all,” Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman said. “I don’t think it registered with her until she was back in the dugout.
“I can’t say enough about what Whitney means to our program and what she has done for us and what she is going to continue to do this year. She is the type of player we have been able to build around and really improve this program on for quite a few years now.”
Kiihnl, 13-3, would get the win for the Lady Bison against MTSU in the final game of the Lady Bison Classic. In five innings she scattered nine hits and allowed six runs, all earned as MTSU’s Nina Dever, Kaycee Popham and Kelsey Woodruff all hit home runs. Kiihnl also struck out five and walked two.
Ashley Anderson relieved Kiihnl to start the sixth inning and closed down MTSU for her first collegiate save. Anderson gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one in two innings as the Lady Bison prevailed 8-6.
“This felt like a postseason win,” Ryman said. “We were up and then we were down. We were up, almost let them tie it up again, and then we held on.
“There were a lot of big hits – doubles and home runs – from both teams. It was one of those games where we felt like every single hitter could have a big hit at any moment for either team.”
Anderson calmly handled her first save opportunity.
“We felt like it was the right time to make a change and show MTSU something different,” Ryman said. “We felt good going with Ashley.
“Ashley is a totally different look from Whit. She was very composed and had a big strikeout near the end. She allowed our defense to work. She didn’t try to do too much.”
Earlier in the day Anderson, 2-3, had picked up her second win of the season with her second shutout in a row with an 11-0 win over Alabama State. Anderson has thrown 17 consecutive shutout innings.
“Ashley is starting to show more confidence,” Ryman said. “We have all seen what she is capable of doing. She is somebody we feel like we can hand the ball to and that she is going to give us a chance to win.”
Offensively, Mollie Mitchell and Kelsey Cartwright had big afternoons. In the Alabama State win Cartwright blasted a grand slam to left center in the second inning and a solo shot to left to lead off the fourth inning.
“Kelsey is a big-time hitter,” Ryman said. “She loves those moments where she is up in an RBI situation. She loves to get innings going.”
Mitchell had three hits, including two doubles, against MTSU. She drove in four runs to lead the Lady Bison in the MTSU win. Against Alabama State she had a double and one RBI.
Caroline Mason rapped out four hits, with three against MTSU. She had a double in the Alabama State game.
Bree Thurman also doubled in the MTSU game. Kristen Sturdivant slugged a home run against Alabama State.
The Lady Bison finished the day with a combined 19 hits, with 11 against MTSU.
In the Alabama State game the Lady Bison scored seven runs in the second and added four in the fourth.
The Lady Bison jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first against MTSU and added another run in the second. But MTSU scored a run in the second and added four more in the third.
MTSU pulled ahead 6-5 with a home run to left center by Popham to lead off the fifth.
The Lady Bison rallied for three runs in the fifth capitalizing on three MTSU errors and a pair of hits.
The Lady Bison, 15-6, won all four games they played in the Classic and extended their winning streak to seven games. It was the second win of the season for the Lady Bison over MTSU, which slipped to 6-9. Alabama State is 2-17.
Thursday afternoon, March 15, the Lady Bison are back in action at Draper Diamond when UAB visits for a doubleheader that begins at 3 p.m..
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.