Dolphins’ Season Ends Despite Solid Defense

Makenzie Buss rounds first

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jacksonville softball rocked its third home run in two days and Allie McCourt robbed Lipscomb of a three-run homer, but the Dolphins' efforts were not enough in their second game of the 2017 ASUN Conference Tournament and the Green and White fell 4-1 to the Bisons, Thursday afternoon at Draper Diamond.

"The ASUN is an incredible league; for us to be fourth overall in RPI ahead of two of the Power 5 conferences just speaks volumes about the competition that we're playing against each and every day," said Head Coach Jennifer Steele.

"Our league is full of talented coaches as well. That made it tough during the early part of league play; we had to really adjust our training and it forced us to go back to the drawing board. The competitiveness and the fight in this group is a great indicator of things to come in the future."

Down 1-0 in the second inning, freshman Makenzie Buss drove the ball out to deep center field with two outs to tie the game up at 1.

"For Makenzie to get in there with two strikes and hit a line drive that was still rising over the center field fence over the deepest part of the ball park was big. It sparked us right there and it gave us a little bit of life; unfortunately, we were unable to sustain it," added Steele.

McCourt made a spectacular catch in deep center field to rob Abby Fenichel of a three-run home run in the bottom of the third, but with one out and runners on second and third, the deep fly out allowed Khayla Green to scoot home from third and make it 2-1 Lipscomb.

"That was a big momentum stop. Allie did a great job sprinting behind her and then timed her jump perfectly. For her to make that play today in an elimination game helped keep our spirits alive," Steele said.

Back-to-back RBI doubles from Chloe DeVault and Green in the bottom of the fourth gave Lipscomb a 4-1 advantage.

The Dolphins had a chance in the top of the sixth when Jordan Daniels singled through the left side and Buss followed up with a fielder's choice to get runners on first and second with one out, but Bison pitcher Mandy Jordan retired the next two Dolphins to get out of the jam.

Taylor Thorpe started the game and threw 3.1 innings before Seana Mora tossed the final 2.2 innings in shutout fashion, not allowing a hit, a walk, or a run. Thorpe suffered the loss to fall to 8-8 on the year.

"Seana did a great job," added Steele. "She's showed moments this season of being able to shut down the opposing team's offense and her growth throughout the season was incredible. She really accepted the role of what we gave her and that was to come in and get a bunch of ground ball outs. For her to be a freshman and to come in and pitch well in an elimination game is great as we look toward the future.

Buss (1-for-2) led the Dolphins with a home run, a walk, and a run scored, while Ciara Jones, McCourt, Heather Roberts, and Jordan Daniels all had hits.

Jordan (23-10) threw a complete game and struck out eight to earn the win for Lipscomb.

The Dolphins finish the 2017 season with a 30-25 record overall and broke two school records in the process. The team set a new milestone with 113 stolen bases, while McCourt broke the single-season stolen bases record with 35. The Dolphins also won 30 games for the first time since the 2013 season.