Whitney Kiihnl

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lipscomb season ends as conference runner-up

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – A dual between two of the top pitchers in the league, All-Conference second team member and former Lady Tigers Whitney Kiihnl (20-9) pitched a two-hit complete game for the Lady Bisons of Lipscomb University in Nashville, striking out eight.  

“This was one of the top pitching matchups in the tournament and to see this it in the second round is a special thing,” Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman said.

Shortstop Courtney Billington drilled a double into left-center in the bottom of the sixth inning plating catcher Mollie Mitchell giving the Lipscomb Lady Bisons the only run they would need to defeat USC Upstate 1-0 Thursday afternoon in the 2011 Atlantic Sun Championship hosted by USC Upstate at Cyrill Stadium.

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Mitchell’s run was unearned as Spartans’ center fielder Katie Zauner bobbled the ball allowing her to reach home.  Mitchell had reached base with a one-out single up the middle.

First team member Morgan Childers (29-7) threw six innings for Upstate striking out 11 and allowing four hits.

Kiihnl had her most trying inning in the first frame as runners reached second and third following a walk, single, and double steal to open the game.  The Lady Bisons escaped as Lauren Quevedo struck out and Ericka Harris flew out to center field.

Kiihnl quickly settled in and retired 15 of the final 16 batters she faced allowing only a hit batter to reach in the fifth inning.  She allowed four base runners on the day.

In the bottom of the first Lipscomb put two runners on the base paths as Kiihnl reached first on a wild pitch on a strike out and Caroline Mason singled up the middle.

Lipscomb improved to 29-18.  USC Upstate snapped a nine-game winning streak to fall to 42-12.  The Lady Bisons are now 5-0 all-time at Cyrill Stadium.

Lipscomb advanced to the semifinals to face No. 1 seed Jacksonville.

Jacksonville stymied Lipscomb’s bats Saturday as the Dolphins prevailed 7-1 in the Atlantic Sun Softball Championship.

The Lady Bisons were only able to squeeze out two hits in the first six innings against A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player Sarah Sigrest.  

Kiihnl (20-11) started for the Lady Bisons but encountered troubles early. Amanda Schmidt hit her first home run of the game, a two-run shot, in the first inning.

In the third inning Karson Tuck doubled in two runs for Jacksonville giving them a 4-0 lead.

After Kiihnl issued two walks to open the fourth frame, Ali Watson was brought in to replace her. She induced three ground outs to end the inning.  

Mackenzie Tucker and Kiihnl received All-Tournament honors. Kiihnl is a 2008 graduate of South Panola and led the fastpitch softball team to back-to-back state championships.

Lipscomb ends the year at 30-20.  Jacksonville earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the victory. The Dolphins improve to 43-14.