Friday, February 08, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - Opening day was a satisfying one for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons with two victories to start the season.
The Lady Bisons closed out the first day of the 2013 season with a 4-2 win over Houston Friday in the Hilton Classic in Houston, Texas. Earlier in the day the Purple-and-Gold shut out Iowa 4-0 at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
“This is a really good start,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “I feel like the way we have worked in practice, the way we have competed, the improvements we have made and the adjustments we have made are all paying off.
“It is good for the girls to see that at this point in the season. We have two really great wins to start the year. The girls are excited and that is to be expected. I don’t think we are playing over our heads. We are playing like we know we belong.”
Left-hander Ashley Anderson started the game against Houston. She gave up a run in the first inning to give Cougars an early lead. In the second, the first two Houston batters hit back-to-back doubles to combine for another run. Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman decided it was time to bring in right-hander Heather Parker from the bullpen.
Anderson gave up four hits, walked one batter and hit another before her early exit.
“Houston is a very good hitting team,” Ryman said. “They kind of started out hot. It was a situation where we needed to make a change pretty quickly.”
Parker, in her first season with the Lady Bisons after transferring from Wallace State, pitched the rest of the way to earn her first win. She gave up three hits, struck out three and did not allow a run in six innings.
“Heather pitched outstanding in relief,” Ryman said. “She was just typical Heather Parker. Some fans were hassling us a little bit and trying to have a good time. But she was very business-like. She never cracked a smile.
“She goes about her business. She hits her spots. She does it very effectively. This was a big time performance by her.”
The Lady Bisons struck at the plate in the top of the second inning. Gracey Aguirre started off the inning with a single to short. Mickey Bell executed a sacrifice bunt to move Aguirre to second. Kristen Sturdivant grounded out to second, but Aguirre was able to move to third. That set the stage for Bridgette Begle who pounded a double over the left fielder’s head to score Aguirre.
In the third, the Lady Bisons post three runs. Rena’ Cothron led off the inning with a walk. Heather Montgomery reached base on an error by Houston’s third baseman. Brittany Elmore struck out. Paige Neely walked. Cothron scored from third on a passed ball. Kelsey Cartwright then slammed a double down the left field line to score both Montgomery and Neely.
Begle led the Lady Bisons with two hits. Cartwright had a pair of RBI.
“They weren’t just big hits,” Ryman said. “They were key hits. They are two kids who have been working really hard and putting the time in.”
Diedre Outon went the distance for Houston. She allowed six hits and four walks. Only two of the four runs were earned. She struck out five Lady Bisons.
The Lady Bisons are back in action at 9 a.m. Saturday against Texas State. They will play 11th-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette at 4:30. The classic ends Sunday at 9 a.m. when the Lady Bisons have a re-match with Houston.
“We got a chance to see Texas State Friday,” Ryman said. “Texas State is a team that hits and runs well. And they have some good pitching. They went to regionals last year.
“Louisiana-Lafayette is the highest-ranked team here. They hit. They pitch. They are very athletic. They do a lot of things. They didn’t play at all today so they will be fresh.”