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Northern Kentucky (4-41)
4/27/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 179
Sunday, April 27, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a day of emotions for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team.
As if the stress of final exams was not enough, the team honored seven seniors prior to the start of Sunday’s Atlantic Sun game with Northern Kentucky at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium on “Senior Day”.
The Lady Bisons worked through it all for a 6-3 win to complete the sweep of the three-game series. The Lady Bisons are 39-11 overall, 18-8 in the A-Sun. Northern Kentucky slipped to 4-41, 1-22 in the conference.
Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman is never going to complain about getting a win, but she isn’t always happy with the process.
“As a coach you have high standards,” Ryman said. “We always want to be sure we are playing the way we are capable of playing.
“We know that we are not going to be perfect all the time. The bar was raised for this team a long time ago. We have played so well this season. It is hard to accept less than the best. I think we are capable of more. But we are happy that we walked away with the sweep.”
The Lady Bisons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Rena’ Cothron drove in a run with a single to right center. She scored from third on a passed ball.
Northern Kentucky trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the top of the second. Katelyn Roy led off with a home run over the right center field fence.
Brianne Welch answered for the Purple and Gold in the second with a solo shot to left field. She has six homers this season.
“We had already left a couple of runners on,” Ryman said. “It was good early in the game for her to come up and get that hit. It was a no doubter that it was out of here. It was a boost for us.
“It is exciting to see Brianne show some power. I think that is going to continue to develop.”
Welch has been working on her swing after dealing with a drop off in her production.
“Brianne started off so hot at the plate this season,” Ryman said. “Then she went through a spell where she had some pretty decent at bats but wasn’t getting the results. And she has had some not so good at bats mixed in.
“She has really been working on feeling comfortable again at the plate and tweaking a couple of things. I don’t think there is anything dramatically wrong with her swing. It is just a matter of seeing the ball and working on a couple of things mechanically that will help her.”
In the third the Lady Bisons struck for two more runs. Paige Neely doubled to center to drive in a run and scored on a sac fly foul ball by Mimi Cartwright. It was the 12th double of the season for Neely.
Without getting a hit in the sixth inning the Lady Bisons scored a run. They loaded the bases on three walks. Welch scored on a fielder’s choice.
Northern Kentucky scored two runs in the seventh on a one-out home run to left field by Alexis Vanhorn.
Heather Parker, 9-3, went the distance for the Lady Bisons in the circle. She gave up five hits. All three runs were earned. She walked three and struck out six.
“Heather had not thrown a full game in a while,” Ryman said. “We want her, if possible, to throw the whole seven. We wanted her to work through some kinks and I thought she did that.
“Overall, I didn’t think it was her best performance, and she would say the same thing. She has high standards for herself. She wasn’t her best but she still got good results at certain times.”
Madison Wray made her first start at first base for the Lady Bisons.
‘Madison is so versatile,” Ryman said. “She had not really practiced a lot at first. But she stepped in because we wanted to rest Kristen Sturdivant and she did a really nice job.”
A game scheduled this week with Tennessee State will not be played. Barring any last minute additions the Lady Bisons will not return to action until May 7-10 when they host the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
Parker, Cothron, Kelsey Cartwright, Ashley Anderson, Haley Elliott, Sturdivant and Bridgette Begle were the seniors honored.
“They are a very unique group,” Ryman said. “Five of them have been together for the long haul. Kelsey and Heather transferred in.
“They are such a tight-knit group. It makes it special. We are a family. We talk about it all the time, but it is hard for people to understand just how close that group is. It was a special day and weekend for them.”