Lions clinch GSC berth with 13-7 win

LIVINGSTON, Ala. -- The University of North Alabama baseball team clinched a berth in the Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament with a 13-7 win over West Alabama Sunday. The Lions jumped to a 10-2 lead but had to turn to reliever Casey Jones for five scoreless innings to hang on for the win.

The win gives UNA a 6-6 record in GSC East Division play and a three-game lead over both West Georgia and West Alabama with three games to play. Since UNA won both series against the Wolves and Tigers, the Lions would own any possible tie-breaker. North Alabama closes its regular season with a three-game home series against Alabama-Huntsville on April 24-25. UAH is currently in fourth place in the East Division at 5-7, followed by West Alabama and West Georgia at 3-9.

UNA got three runs in the second inning for an early lead. Dewayne Gunn single and JAcob Lamar doubled. Nick McGregor drove in a run on a ground-out. Ross Parker singles and Blake Stroth was hit-by-pitch before Jared Mothershed drove in two runs with a single.

In the third UNA added two more runs as Kevin Williams walked and later scored on a ground-out. Josh Cyr singled and later scored on an error.

The flood gates opened in the fourth as UNA plated five runs. Three straight walked loaded the bases and a walk to Kevin Williams forced in a run. A Cyr single drove in a run and another run scored when Gunn was hit-by-pitch. Williams scored on a balk and McGregor singled in the final run. UNA starter Will rankin was roughed-up for five runs in the bottom of the fourth, however, to make it 10-7.

Jones (4-0) then came on and held the Tigers to just two hits over the final four innings. UNA added three runs in the eighth as Cyr walked and scored on an error and Stroth drove in two runs with a double.

The win gave UNA a 2-1 series win over West Alabama. It was the Lions' first series win over the Tigers since 2006 and it also gives North Alabama its first GSC berth under second-year head coach Mike Keehn.

UNA had 12 hits in the game, led by Stroth, Mothershed,Cyr, Lamar and Parker with two each. The Lions are now 24-20 overall.