Lipscomb softball falls to Arizona State in the opening round

Lipscomb softball falls to Arizona State in the opening round

The Lady Bisons made it close but ultimately couldn’t overcome the Arizona State Sun Devils, losing 4-3 in the opening round of the Tuscaloosa Regional tournament and road to the Women’s College World Series. Lipscomb fell to Arizona State, a team with a high-powered offense, solid pitching, and strong defense. Pitching and the outfield were the most important aspects of the game for either team through the first two innings. In the first inning, Lipscomb’s first two batters struck out before a popout ended the inning. Amy Vetula was able to record all three of the outs for Lipscomb’s defense. In the second inning, things play balanced out. Arizona State’s defense got two of the three outs (including a barehanded catch and throw from Jade Gortarez to first), while Lipscomb’s Mandy Jordan earned a strikeout and Destinee Brewer chased down a long shot to end the inning. Cielo Meza struck out four through four innings of play for the Sun Devils and only allowed two runners to reach base. A Sarah Higgins double followed by a home run from Jenna Pealor put the Lady Bisons up 2-0 in the fourth inning. The Sun Devils would respond quickly. Kindra Hackbarth hit a double in the bottom of the same inning. Two batters later, Gortarez hit an RBI single that cut Lipscomb’s lead to one and cut its momentum. Lipscomb had a chance to extend the lead in the fifth inning but couldn’t capitalize on it. A tag-out at second and a foul-out ended any chance of the Lady Bisons scoring in the fifth. Arizona State has the third-ranked offense in...
Gallery: Lady Bisons draw Tuscaloosa Regional in NCAA Softball Selection Show

Gallery: Lady Bisons draw Tuscaloosa Regional in NCAA Softball Selection Show

Surrounded by family, friends, and Bison faithful in the Allen Arena Hall of Fame room, the Lipscomb softball team learned their next stop is Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as pairings were announced during the NCAA Softball Tournament Selection Show. Lipscomb drew the Tuscaloosa regional, hosted by the SEC regular-season champion and overall eight-seed, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Lady Bisons will open the regional against the Arizona State Sun Devils. Also, included in the Tuscaloosa regional are the Alabama State Hornets. “This is a hard regional,” coach Kristin Ryman said.  “This [Arizona State] is a tough team. But I don’t care. We are too.” After winning 22 of their last 24 games, Lipscomb won the ASUN championship and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA softball tournament. The first round of the tournament, which is set to begin May 17-19, is divided into 16 regional campus sites with four teams at each location. The four teams will play a double elimination tournament to determine who advances to the super-regional round the following weekend. Philip Hutcheson, Lipscomb’s athletic director, praised this team and their coaches for an incredibly exciting season, mentioning how fun it has been to watch them this year. ASUN Coach of the Year Ryman talked about how “connected” her team has been all season, attributing their success to this chemistry. The first game is set to be played at 3 p.m. Friday and can be streamed via ESPN+....
Harding Academy power forward Luke Howard signs with Lipscomb

Harding Academy power forward Luke Howard signs with Lipscomb

Power forward Luke Howard, a 2019 Tennessee Mr. Basketball award finalist, Sunday officially signed his letter of intent to play basketball at Lipscomb.Harding Academy’s boys basketball coach Kevin Starks expressed his excitement for Howard’s decision to come to Lipscomb. “I think he is really just scratching the surface of how good he can be,” Starks said. “I am excited for him to be with the coaching staff at Lipscomb, because I think they will help him grow and reach his potential.” The Harding Academy senior also received offers from Lincoln Memorial University, Drake University, the University of Texas at Arlington, Marist College, Campbell University, Kent State University and Troy University. Starks said that Howard’s versatility, athleticism, and hard work will take him far. “I think Luke’s potential is off the charts,” Starks said. “I believe that he has the chance to be an all-league player and to play basketball after college.“ Howard, originally from Vancouver, Canada, moved to Memphis two years ago and began playing basketball under Starks during the 2017-2018 season. Even given his short time at Harding Academy, Starks said that Howard was able to fit right in. He was one of the senior leaders for Harding Academy this year, averaging 23.8 points per game, eight rebounds per game, 62 percent field-goal shooting, 34 percent three-point shooting, 70 percent free-throw shooting, 1.8 assists per game, and 1.3 steals per game. “Luke is a 6-foot-9, athletic four man that can really, really shoot,” Starks said. “Because of his skill level, his upside is just tremendous.” Howard served a number of different roles for the Lions with the ability...
Pitching stars send Lady Bisons to ASUN Softball Tournament Final

Pitching stars send Lady Bisons to ASUN Softball Tournament Final

Twenty-one hours and two weather delays after it began, the Lipscomb softball team emerged the victors in the ASUN softball quarterfinal matchup against North Alabama. Senior Mandy Jordan was on the mound all 12 innings, totaling 137 pitches, but letting no Lions score. Due to inclement weather coming into the area, the ASUN elected to move all of Thursday’s tournament games up by an hour and a half, but not even the ASUN was prepared for the pitching duel between Jordan and North Alabama junior Megan Garst. Nine innings into this Thursday morning matchup, Garst and Jordan had combined to allow only nine hits, and the score remained 0-0. In the top of the 10th, with two UNA outs and a runner on base, lightning forced the suspension of the game. Shortly over 50 minutes later the game resumed. Although the delay was inconvenient, it caused no problems for either pitcher. Both pitchers returned to the mound without skipping a beat, extending the game into the 12th inning. In the bottom of the 12th, the Bisons finally had a runner in scoring position with the opportunity for a walk-off win, but Mother Nature was not ready for this game to end yet. More thunderstorms rolled into Ft. Myers, pushing the rest of the game until Friday morning. Thursday’s portion of the game lasted 9 1/2 hours, and it included 330 pitches. Friday, all it took was one pitch. Just a few minutes after 7 a.m. Central, senior Sarah Higgins’ single drove Hannah DeVault home and advanced the Bisons to the next round. The Bisons’ day was not over yet....
Sweep of FGCU gives Lady Bisons first ASUN regular season softball title since 2010

Sweep of FGCU gives Lady Bisons first ASUN regular season softball title since 2010

After sweeping FGCU and laying claim to the ASUN regular season title last weekend, reigning ASUN pitcher of the week, senior Mandy Jordan leads her Lady Bisons back to Ft. Myers for the 2019 ASUN Softball Tournament. In Thursday’s doubleheader, seniors Jenna Pealor and Graysen Gladden and juniors Hannah Devault and Peyton Ward batted in four runs. Errors by the Eagles allowed two more Bisons to score. Jordan was the player of the night as she pitched all seven innings in the first game shutout and got the save in the 4-2 game two win, allowing zero runs and only two hits. Although the Bisons clinched a bye in the ASUN tournament with Thursday’s victories, it was Friday’s win that proved all-important, giving the Bisons their first regular-season ASUN title since 2010. Jordan once again was the hero, pitching the entire game that went into extra innings. This was her second shutout of the series as the Bisons came away with a 1-0 victory over FGCU off of a DeVault RBI in the 10th inning, edging out Liberty for the top-seed in the ASUN tournament.   Not only are the Lady Bisons the regular-season champions, but the ASUN named coach Kristin Ryman and DeVault the ASUN Coach of the Year and the ASUN Player of the Year respectively. DeVault also was honored with the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year award. In addition, senior Sarah Higgins, DeVault and Gladden represented Lipscomb on the ASUN’s all-conference first team, while Jordan and senior Jordan Fortel were named to the ASUN’s all-conference second team. Freshman Amy Vetula and freshman Katie Turner received...
Lipscomb WBB coach Lauren Sumski just wants to hear ‘well done’

Lipscomb WBB coach Lauren Sumski just wants to hear ‘well done’

Lauren Sumski says she’s always been the “baby” in the room. The new head coach for Lipscomb women’s basketball is only 27 years old — making her one of the youngest coaches in Division I right now. She was the youngest head coach in Division III when she coached at Rhodes right before the move to Lipscomb. As I sat down with Sumski to hear her thoughts on her new role, she recalled this trend in her life, reflecting back to when she was an eighth-grader playing on the varsity team. Not only was she just playing on the team as a middle schooler, but she was serving as varsity captain. And again, at age 13, she played on a 17U team while still in middle school. She jokingly added she still even has trouble getting a rental car sometimes since companies don’t think she looks old enough. “When I was in middle school, I was playing up,” Sumski recalled. “I was playing 17-and-under basketball when I was 13. So all of my teammates were just a lot older than me. They had a lot different interests than me, and I was just the baby of the group.” But she said she thinks God has blessed her with a special maturity to be able to relate to those older than her. This, coupled with her natural intelligence (in college, she was accepted to medical school in Memphis before deciding to pursue coaching), has come in handy as she’s often stepped up to serve in roles typically reserved for those older. Throughout her life, she’s been able to develop this intergenerational openness,...