Softball skids to eighth in conference

Left battling for one of six spots in A-Sun Tournament

In a disappointing weekend at home on Sikes Field, the Mercer softball team fell to Lipscomb in three straight match-ups, 8-0, 10-6 and 3-1, damaging the Bears’ postseason chances.
On Saturday, Junior Randi Rea and freshman Natalie Shiver each had a pair of RBI in the second game while on Sunday, senior Sara Santana registered the lone RBI, bringing junior McKenzie Woody to home from third.
While senior Kerri Nidiffer pitched a scoreless first two innings, the Lady Bison did as well as Mercer was unable to get a run off of Lipscomb pitcher, Heather Parker.
In the top of the third, the Bison struck with the first run of the game, and then again in the fifth off of a grand slam, giving Lipscomb a five run lead. Another Bison RBI extended their lead to six going into the sixth inning.
The Lady Bison registered two more runs while the Black and Orange were unable to make it to home plate one time in the contest.
In game two, Rea lifted a two-RBI base hit to center field in the first inning. Sophomore Rachel Hugghins also registered an RBI, giving the Bears a 3-0 lead.
Junior pitcher Julia Rice cruised through the first five innings holding Mercer’s lead at 3-0 until Lipscomb put up eight runs at the top of the sixth.  
In the seventh, the Bears continued to struggle to hold the Lady Bison, allowing them two more runs.
Mercer finally got a rally going as Santana stroked a triple to right field, followed by junior Krista Kennedy with an RBI single. Two batters later, Shiver delivered a two-out, two-RBI double to right field to cut the deficit to four.
Sophomore Molly Garmany was unable to keep the Bears in the game and batted out, giving Lipscomb the win.  
On Sunday, the Bears watched a one-run lead slip away on Senior Day as Mercer eventually fell in the series finale against Lipscomb.
Three seniors were honored prior the game. Nidiffer, Santana and Kelly Redlinger all played in their final regular season Atlantic Sun home game.
In the first inning, Santana gave the Bears the early lead. She connected with a sacrifice fly bringing Woody into home.
Nidiffer pitched a strong four innings until Lipscomb was able to connect with a pitch. Lady Bison’s Paige Neely continued her hot bat in the series with an RBI single up the middle to score the tying run.
Despite her best efforts, Nidiffer could not hold Lipscomb in the sixth, allowing two more runs. The Lady Bison utilized a timely triple down the left field line off the bat of Bree Thurman to plate the go-ahead run a batter later when Brittany Elmore drove in Thurman with an RBI single. Lipscomb scored the third and final run off a well-executed double steal.
Junior McKenzie Woody accounted for three of the Bears’ four hits in the game as she finished going 3-for-4 at the dish.
Mercer alongside Jacksonville and Stetson are all separated by just one game for the sixth and final spot heading into the final weekend of regular season play.
Mercer finishes out its non-conference and home portion of its schedule this Wednesday as Savannah State heads to Sikes Field for a game beginning at 3 p.m.