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Lady Bisons clinch berth in A-Sun tournament
Lipscomb (34-10)
at
Stetson (30-8)
4/18/2014 | DeLand, Fla. | Attendance: 127
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Lipscomb0000000061
Stetson0000001150
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: OWEN (18-5) 7.060015
Loss: ANDERSON (0-0) 6.251014
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
ELMORE (LIP) 303000
MEZA (STET) 301000
OWEN (STET) 301000
GRIFFIN (STET) 201010
BRANDT (STET) 311000
HAWN (STET) 201000

Friday, April 18, 2014
by Mark McGee

DELAND, Fla. – A strong ending is the best way to erase a bad start.

Such was the case for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons. After a disappointing first game they rallied strong in game two against Stetson Friday afternoon.

The Lady Bisons clinched a berth in the Atlantic Sun Tournament with a 9-2 win over Stetson. The win in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Patricia Wilson Field on the Stetson campus gave the Lady Bisons a split. They lost the first game 1-0 with two outs in the seventh inning.

“As a coaching staff we are proud of the way we came back and really started clicking in game two,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “For us to not only win in game two but to win so convincingly was good for us. We are proud of the split.”

The Lady Bisons would have preferred to give Ryman a sweep for her birthday, but if they can win the series that will be the icing on the cake.

Game three of the series is Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

“If we can come out and make adjustments early and get contributions from top to bottom we will be fine,” Ryman said. “We know it is going to be a battle. We are excited about Sunday.”

With the win the Lady Bisons are 35-10 overall, 15-7 in the A-Sun. Stetson is 30-9, 14-5 in the conference.

This is the third year in a row the Lady Bisons have won 35 games.

After such a disappointing loss in game one, the Lady Bisons came back strong in the second game with a run in the first, two in both the fourth and fifth and four in the seventh.

Sanders sets the tone

Lipscomb right-hander Tanner Sanders went the distance for the Lady Bisons. She gave up six hits and two runs, one earned. She struck out five and walked three. It was her 10th win of the season against four losses.

“I thought Tanner did a nice job of setting the tone from the beginning,” Ryman said. “We scored the early run which helps all of our pitchers.”

Sanders worked out of bases loaded situations in both the second and sixth innings, giving up only a run each time.

“Tanner did a really nice job, even when she got in some jams here and there, of staying composed and working her way out of it. She had some good pitches working for her. When she works ahead of hitters and is not giving up a lot of free passes she is a very different pitcher.

“We were very proud of her today; not only for the start, but the way she pitched late in the game. Late in the game when she limited the damage in the sixth it really helped swing the momentum back to us. She was in complete control.”

Courtney Brandt started for Stetson. She gave up six hits and three runs, all earned, in four innings. She struck out five and did not walk a batter. Sarah Read closed out the game for Stetson. She scattered seven hits and gave up six runs, all earned. She walked three and struck out one.

Kristen Sturdivant drove in three runs for the Lady Bisons with a solo home run blast to left field in the fourth inning followed by a two-run double off the right field wall in the fifth. Sturdivant has 41 RBI; the first time in her career she has broken the 40-RBI barrier.

“When Kristen hit the home run the flood gates kind of opened,” Ryman said. “We talk about hitting being contagious. We just seemed to take off and click after that.

“It was a huge at bat. It was a huge moment in the game. She crushed the ball. It was a no-doubter. For us to have a hit like that really made a statement.”

Mimi Cartwright connected for a season game high four hits. She drove in two runs.

Brittany Elmore added a pair of hits, including a double. She has a 12-game hitting streak, the second longest of the season on the team.

Pitching duel

In a classic pitching duel in game one the deciding play came down to two outs and a 3-2 count.

In the home part of the seventh Courtney Brandt led off with a double to right center. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt for the second out.

Lipscomb left-hander Ashley Anderson forced Chrissy Morello to ground out to short. But Bridgette Begle had trouble getting a handle on the ball allowing Morello to reach base and Brandt to score the only run of the game in a 1-0 decision.

Anderson fell to 17-3 on the season. She gave up five hits and one unearned run. She walked one, hit two batters and struck out four.

Meredith Owen, 18-5, went the distance for Stetson. She scattered six hits, struck out five and walked one.

Elmore led all batters with three hits. She also stole her 20th base of the season on her 20th attempt.

Neely added a pair of hits for the Lady Bisons.

“I thought Brittany and Paige were really clicking at the top of the order in game one,” Ryman said. “They were on base more often than they weren’t.

“I thought we really struggled through the middle and the bottom of the order to get anything going. The top of the order sets the trend. They did that and then we kind of stalled. We have to make better adjustments when we are facing one of the best pitchers in the conference and statistically, one of the best pitchers in the country.”