Whitney Kiihnl

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lipscomb sophomore pitcher Whitney Kiihnl of Pope had a 496-pitch count for weekend work at the NCAA regionals in Tuscaloosa. Photo courtesy of Lipscomb University

Kiihnl ends season at NCAA regionals

MACON, Ga. – Lipscomb University‘s Whitney Kiihnl earned Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I First-Team Southeast Region accolades as announced Thursday, May 20. A total of 256 players from 116 different institutions made up this season’s regional teams, including first and second teams for each region.

It marks the first time in Kiihnl’s collegiate career that she earned first-team accolades. The Pope native earned Louisville Slugger/NFCA High School Second-Team South Region honors while playing for South Panola High School during her junior and senior years.

This season, she earned both Atlantic Sun Player and Pitcher of the Year honors. Since the A-Sun began awarding both a Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year in 2004, no player prior to Kiihnl had captured both honors. A unanimous First-Team All-Conference choice, she earned 2009 Academic All-Conference honors, in addition to A-Sun Player of the Week accolades on five occasions this season.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The sophomore has recorded 31 wins overall and posted a perfect 11-0 mark in A-Sun play. Kiihnl also owns five no-hitters and one perfect game this season.

She entered the week of May 17 leading the nation in fewest hits allowed per seven innings (2.44) and in ERA (0.73), while placing eighth in the nation in shutouts (12), 13th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.5) and 14th in the nation in strikeouts (319).

In the A-Sun, the biology major ranks first overall in ERA and opposing batting average (.106), second in wins and third in strikeouts. At the plate, she ranks third in hitting (.363).

Conference tournament

The Atlantic Sun Conference tournament was played May 13 – 15.  In the tournament, No. 1 Lipscomb won its first Softball Championship with an 11-0 win against No. 4 USC Upstate, at Patricia Wilson Field.  It marked the first time the eight-run rule applied to an A-Sun Softball Championship round game. Lipscomb’s Kiihnl took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth inning and ended the contest with a two-hit shutout. The junior hurler from Batesville, Miss. also collected three K’s on the day and allowed one walk.

With the win, the 2010 Champion Lady Bisons earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament; their first in program history.


The regional was played at nationally ranked No. 1 Alabama May 21 – 23.  Lipscomb’s first game in the regional was Friday, May 21 against the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).  Lipscomb won 4 – 1.  The second game was played Saturday against Alabama resulting in a loss of 5 – 2.  The third game was also played Saturday against UAB (winner of Alcorn State and UAB).  Lipscomb won 7 – 6 in 9 innings.  The fourth and final game was Sunday against Alabama. Lipscomb lost 6 – 0.  

Kiihnl started all four games in the regional. She threw 118 pitches in five innings in Sunday’s 6-0 loss to Alabama.

Her pitch total for the tournament was 496.

“We have put a lot on Whitney’s shoulders this season,” Ryman said. “I don’t think she will say that today was one of her best performances, but what a gutsy job in sticking it out and giving her best even though she was extremely tired.”

Kiihnl admitted that she was physically feeling the effects of so many pitches and the heat.

“I am pretty tired,” Kiihnl said. “Coach told me before the game to just push through it and do the best I can, because this could be the last game of the year.

“I wanted to push through for the six seniors. So I tried not to think about how tired I was.”

The Lady Bisons were one of the final 32 teams still playing on Sunday in regionals. Alabama advances to a Super Regional with the win. This is the fifth time a Lipscomb team has played in an NCAA Tournament, the first time for softball. They advanced deeper into the tournament than any Lipscomb team.

In the final regular season rankings for the Ultimate College Softball Poll the Lady Bisons were ranked 26th with 48 votes.

They received five votes in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll, placing them in the top 30. Votes for the poll are made by 30 Division I coaches, with one representing each conference.

In the ESPN.com/USA Poll the Lady Bisons were given one vote for the top 25.
Kiihnl finished the year with a 0.95 era and a 33-5 win/loss record.