CLEVELAND, Miss. – North Alabama pounded 18 hits off the top pitching staff in the Gulf South Conference and rolled to a 12-6 win over the Argonauts in the second round of the Morgan Keegan GSC Baseball Tournament at Ferriss Field.
With the win UNA is now 2-0 in the tournament and advances in the winner's bracket to face the winner of the Southern Arkansas-Valdosta State game. The Lions defeated Arkansas Tech 8-3 in the opening round game on Monday.
Trey Mitchell , who threw a no-hitter against West Florida earlier in the season, fell behind 3-0 early in Tuesday's game but managed to give the Lions seven strong innings and eventually get the win.
UNA rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the third inning but West Florida came back to go on top 5-4 in the fifth. With three runs in fifth, North Alabama took the lead for good and added one insurance run in the sixth and four more in the seventh.
Mitchell, 5-5, scattered 11 hits and allowed six runs over seven innings. Casey Jones came on and pitched two scoreless innings, but did work out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.
UNA senior catcher Kevin Williams led UNA's 18-hit offensive attack with a school record-tying five hits. He was five-for-six two runs scored and two runs batted in.
North Alabama, now 29-22, entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed from the GSC East Division but has already defeated two higher seeds.
After Mitchell was touched for three runs in the top of the first inning, UNA loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame but couldn't force a run across. Mitchell worked out of a bases-loaded jam of his own in the bottom of the second without allowing a run. North Alabama stranded another runner in the second but finally broke onto the scoreboard in the third. Chase Porch doubled, Kevin Williams singled and stole second and Dewayne Gunn walked to load the bases. Josh Cyr then delivered a two-run single to cut the Argonauts' lead to 3-2. A Nick McGregor single tied the game and Ross Parker followed with a single to again load the bases. Blake Stroth then drew a bases loaded walk to put UNA on top 4-3.
With UNA trailing 5-4 in the fifth, Lamar and McGregor singled and Parker walked to load the bases. Jared Mothershed was hit-by-pitch to force in a run and tie the game. Porch drove in the go-ahead run on a groundout and Williams singled in another to make it 7-5.
Lamar hit a solo home run, his first of the season, in the sixth inning to make it 8-6 after UWF had scored a run in the top of the inning. In the seventh, Mothershed and Porch singled and Williams doubled in a run for a 9-6 lead. Gunn followed with an RBI single, Williams scored on a passed ball and another run scored on a walk.
West Florida threw five pitchers at UNA but allowed 18 hits, 12 earned runs, walked seven batters and hit three.
In addition to Williams five hits, Parker was 3-for-3 and walked twice and Porch, Gunn, Lamar and McGregor had two hits each for UNA.
UNA has won five previous GSC championships but none since 1999. This is the Lions' first post-season appearance under second-year head coach Mike Keehn.
Henderson State and host Delta State were eliminated from the tournament on Tuesday. Arkansas Tech faces West Florida in an elimination game on Wednesday. Alabama-Huntsville, a 20-18 winner over Delta State, plays the the loser of the Southern Arkansas-Valdosta State game in the other elimination contest.