FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2011
Softball downs Lipscomb to advance to A-Sun title game, 3-1
In just her first A-Sun Tournament, freshman Karson Tuck came up with a championship-type hit after recording a three-run home run to lift the JU softball team past Lipscomb, 3-1, and into the conference title game on Friday afternoon.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Dolphins (42-14) put two of first three runners on before Tuck smashed a no-doubt hit over the left field fence to advance JU into its first title game appearance.

The Dolphins will play the winner of Lady Bisons (29-19) and Campbell/Mercer matchup tomorrow at noon. JU will need to win once to secure the conference automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

“I’m so excited for our team,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “That was a veteran hit by Tuck which was set up a couple of key at-bats from other players. We are thrilled to be in the title game, but we know we still have one more challenge if we want to win the championship.”

Junior Sarah Sigrest (25-5) earned the win, allowing one run on six hits and four strikeouts in seven innings. Sophomores Olivia Kline and Sarah Simon each recorded a hit for JU.

Despite recording seven strikeouts, Whitney Kiihnl took the loss for Lipscomb after surrendering three runs on three hits and five walks in six innings. MaKenize Tucker finished with three hits to pace the Lady Bisons’ offense.

In the top of the first inning, Breanna Thurman and Kiihnl each had consecutive infield singles to start the game for Lipscomb. They moved into scoring position in the next at-bat on a ground out by Caroline Mason. Sigrest struck out Mollie Mitchell, but Haley Elliot was able to sneak a single off the glove of junior Amanda Schmidt at third to score Thurman for the 1-0 lead.

Kline drew a walk to begin the JU second inning. Senior Annike Don pinch ran for Kline and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Kiihnl got freshman Jacey Warner to fly out, but lost senior Katie Kelly on a 3-2 count for a walk. Freshman Megan Balding worked the count to 2-2 before Kiihnl induced a ground out to first to end the threat.

The Dolphins broke through with their first hit of the game on a single to left field by Simon. Sophomore Morgan Kibler pinch ran and advanced to second on a one-out groundout. Kibler moved to third on a pass ball, while Warner drew a two-out walk. Kiihnl stranded the runners by getting Kelly to fly out.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, junior Amanda Schmidt drew a lead-off walk. Simon popped out, but Kline followed a single to left field to advance Schmidt to second. Tuck followed with a towering home run to left field to finally put the Dolphins on the board with a 3-1 lead.

Sigrest retired the first two batters in the seventh inning before allowing a hit to Tucker. She followed by getting a pop out to secure JU’s conference title game berth.

Fans can follow the championship tomorrow on live video streaming through A-Sun.TV or live stats by logging into JUDolphins.com.