DeLAND, Fla. (May 7, 2009) - Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl tossed a two-hit shutout and the Lady Bisons struck for five runs in the first two innings to bounce their way to 6-0 victory over ETSU in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Championships on Thursday morning at Stetson's Patricia Wilson Field.
The loss sent the Lady Bucs record to the .500 mark (27-27), while Lipscomb - who was eliminated on the first day of the 2008 tournament - moved its record to 38-12.
Kiihnl continued to have ETSU's number as she blanked the Lady Bucs for the second time this season. The 2009 Freshman of the Year struck out 10 ETSU hitters and issued zero walks, while throwing her seventh shutout of the year. Meanwhile, junior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) was roughed up early and made an unexpected departure in the second inning. Hardy saw her mark move to 17-16 after allowing five runs on eight hits in 1.1 IP - marking her shortest outing of the season as a starter.
The Lady Bisons set the tone early by striking for three runs on five hits in the bottom of the first. Lauren Dortwegt led off with a single chopper over the head of Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.) at third - and after Courtney Billington reached on an infield single - both runners advanced on a throwing error by Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.). After both runners moved into scoring position, Kellie Sirus doubled down the left field line to make it a 2-0 game. The Lady Bisons tacked on their third run of the inning on Christen Campbell's RBI single over the bag at third. However, Hardy kept Lipscomb from making any more damage, as she struck out Mackenzie Tucker swinging to end the inning and left the bases loaded.
Unfortunately, Lipscomb's Abby Keese continued to keep the Lady Bison offense on fire by doubling home two runs in the second to make it, 5-0. The eighth hit and 53rd pitch allowed by Hardy was her last and junior right-hander Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) entered in relief. Gilbert silenced the Lipscomb attack and got out of the frame unscathed.
The Lady Bucs ended Kiihnl's perfect game attempt when junior shortstop Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led off the fourth with a bunt single through the left side; however, the inning was short-lived. After Kiihnl induced Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) to fly out to left, Cason was caught stealing, and the freshman righty ended the frame by picking up her fifth strikeout of the game.
Lipscomb pushed its sixth run across the plate on Mollie Mitchell's RBI single to left in the fourth, extending the Lady Bisons advantage to, 6-0.
Gilbert tossed 4.2 innings in relief and allowed one run on five hits. In total, the Lady Buccaneer pitching staff allowed a season-high 13 hits and five wild pitches.
With Cason's single in the fourth, the Moreno Valley, Calif. native has now hit safely in 23 of her last 29 games.
ETSU will now take on the loser of No. 1-seed Campbell and No. 6-seed Stetson at 4 p.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.