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4/21/2012 | Macon, Ga. | Attendance: 114
Lipscomb (30-14, 8-6 A-Sun)
Mercer (24-24, 5-11 A-Sun)
4/21/2012 | Macon, Ga. | Attendance: 76
Saturday, April 21, 2012
MACON, Ga. – A road sweep cures all.
For the Lipscomb softball team, the cure was obtained through two hard-hitting games against Mercer that got the Lady Bisons back in the mix for a high seed at the A-Sun Championships. Lipscomb defeated the Bears 8-2 in the first game and capped it off with a 5-2 win in the second game.
“We zoned in at the plate today,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “People settled in and put together good at-bats.”
Lipscomb jumped out to an early lead thanks to a two-run single from senior Caroline Mason in the first inning. Her single to left field plated Kelsey Cartwright and Whitney Kiihnl, who batted lead-off in the opener in addition to her pitching duties.
Cartwright broke out of a prolonged slump in the second inning. After sophomores Kristen Sturdivant and Bridgette Begle singled and Kiihnl reached via error, Cartwright brought everybody around to score with a grand slam that widened the lead to six. The big fly was Cartwright’s 12th of the campaign but first since April 1.
“The way our conference is, you never want to rest on a lead,” Ryman said. “Kelsey had been frustrated at the plate recently, but she’s still dangerous. She worked through it today.”
Mercer got one back in the second. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases, Kristin Marko coaxed a bases-loaded single for the Bears first run.
Sophomore Haley Elliott capped off the Lipscomb scoring in the fifth inning. After Mason singled to open the frame, Elliott hit a two-run home run to left, her season’s ninth, to make the score 8-1.
Mercer would tack on one more run in the sixth on a Marko single, but that would be all they would get off of Kiihnl. She went the distance for her 21st victory, striking out five and allowing two earned runs.
Cartwright was 3-for-4 with a the grand slam. Mason and Elliott both collected three hits for the Lady Bisons, who pounded out a season-high 16 as a team.
Game Two – Lipscomb 5, Mercer 2
Cartwright and Kiihnl kept it going early in the second game. After Kiihnl led the game off with a single, Cartwright brought her around to score with a double to right-center field.
“They had the same pitcher (Kassie Bailey) start both games,” Ryman said. “It’s good we got to her early, because they started mixing pitches after that.”
Neither side would score again until the fourth, when Rena’ Cothron and Jordan Abell scored on an error by Mercer right fielder Tiffany Phillips.
The Bears got on the board in the fifth inning on Krista Kennedy single that scored Molly Garmany.
Cartwright homered again in the seventh, a two-run job to left that scored sophomore Bridgette Begle.
A Lilli Luke solo home run in the seventh got the Bears within three, but that would be all against redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson. The lefty scattered eight hits and two runs in her season’s eighth complete game, striking out four for the victory.
Cartwright, Mason and Elliott collected two hits apiece, while Kiihnl acclimated herself well to the lead-off spot in both games.
“Whitney had a good day hitting lead-off,” Ryman said. “She provided a spark there and had a couple of key hits.
“For us, right now it’s just about taking advantage of who’s swinging the best and getting them more at-bats.”
The Lady Bisons have mid-week dates against UAB (Tuesday, 5 and 7 p.m.) and at Western Kentucky (Wednesday, 5 and 7 p.m.)