College softball: Lipscomb survives, will face No. 1 again

Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 10:27pm
Staff reports

Lipscomb University’s softball team got its second victory in as many days over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.

As a result, the Lady Bisons get their second shot in as many days at No. 1 Alabama on Sunday as they continue their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Lipscomb lost 5-2 to Alabama, the tournament’s top overall seed, early Saturday but stayed alive with a 7-6 victory in nine innings over UAB in an elimination contest. A day earlier, Lipscomb defeated UAB 4-1 in its first-ever NCAA contest.

The Lady Bisons must defeat Alabama twice on Sunday (play begins at 1:30 p.m.) to remain alive in the tournament. They will be eliminated with one loss.

“We felt like coming in that we had a legitimate shot (against Alabama),” coach Kristin Ryman said. “Yeah I think we still do coming out of the losers’ bracket. Unfortunately we had some errors and just some mental mistakes right off the bat that really hurt us.

“Anytime you give the No. 1 team in the nation some gimmies right off the bat it definitely hurts you.”

Alabama took advantage of a catcher’s interference call on the third batter of the game and scored three unearned runs in the top of the first. The Crimson Tide added one more in each the third and fourth innings and chased Lipscomb pitcher Whitney Kiihnl.

Alaina Jacobsen relieved Kiihnl and did not allow a hit or a walk in the final three innings as the Lady Bisons rallied slightly.

Kiihnl drove in their first run with an RBI single in the fifth, but the inning fizzled when two players struck out with the bases loaded. Abbey Keese followed with an RBI single in the sixth.

“It was a very good game, a tough game,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “We took advantage of some opportunities and executed very well early in the game and came away with a couple of lucky runs in the first inning.”

Caroline Mason’s two-out single drove in Mollie Mitchell for the game-winning run against UAB and gave Lipscomb its 50th victory of the season.

Trevecca’s two-for-two

Melinda Patterson’s second home run of the season lifted Trevecca Nazarene to a 3-2 victory over Notre Dame (Ohio) in the second round of pool play at the NAIA Softball National Championship.

With the victory, the Lady Trojans set up a showdown with second-ranked Lee University (4:30 p.m. Monday) for the right to advance to the eight-team championship bracket. Both teams won their first two games of pool play.

Patterson broke a 2-2 tie when she drove a 1-2 pitch out to right field in the top of the sixth. Trevecca went in front for the first time with a run in the top of the fifth, but allowed Notre Dame to tie it with one in the bottom of the fifth.

Lauren Baker allowed one baserunner in the final two innings and earned her 20th win of the season (20-7). In so doing, she and Riley Mashburn (23-7) became the first two to win at least 20 in the same season for Trevecca.

“Lauren did a great job (Saturday) of keeping us in the ballgame, and obviously Melinda's home run … (was) huge,” coach Ben Tyree said. “We just kept fighting, and got ourselves a hard-earned win against a good team.”