The University of North Alabama softball team picked up a pair of Gulf South Conference road wins over West Alabama Sunday afternoon by identical 3-2 scores. The Lions rallied from early 1-0 deficits in both games to improve to 5-11 on the season and open league play with a 2-0 mark.
In the first game, the Lions scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to get the win. Starting pitchers Haley Barnette of UNA and West Alabama's Kristen Skinner each tossed three-hitters after six innings of work.
After entering the final frame trailing 1-0, UNA loaded the bases with one out. Lindsay Bobrowski drew a walk to bring home Sarah Corn from third base and tie the game. Emily Barnes then walked to score Julie Mercer and give the Lions a 2-1 lead. A sacrifice fly by Kathryn Young then scored Heather Suddoth and made the score 3-1.
UWA (16-4 overall, 0-2 GSC) was able to push a run across home plate in the bottom of the inning before Barnette recorded the final out on a foul out to first base. For the game, the freshman pitched all seven innings, allowing two runs off five hits with three strikeouts to improve to 3-2 on the season.
UNA also had five hits in the game with five different players recording singles.
The second game featured a similar script as the Lions rallied for a 3-2 win. Evalena Behr (1-2) recorded her first win of the season after scattering eight hits over seven innings and striking out six batters from the mound.
West Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with a lead-off home run by Jessica Powell. An RBI-single by the Lions' Natalie Harrison in the top of the fourth inning scored Ali Barnette from second base and briefly tied the game at 1-1 before the Tigers answered again.
In the bottom of the fourth, UWA got a two-out single with runners on second and third by Anna Shartzer. The hit scored Meagan Sloke from third, but Rebecca Schick was thrown out at home by Barnes from right field to keep the score 2-1.
UNA responded with back-to-back RBI-singles by Jennifer Sharp and A. Barnette to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth. Bobrowski reached on an error to start the inning and scored the unearned run on Sharp's hit. Barnes also singled and came home on A. Barnette's hit.
Holding the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lions were able to secure the win on a double play. With one out and a runner at first base, Powell fouled out to third base. After making a diving catch in foul territory, Mercer was able to throw out the base runner attempting to tag from first to second and end the game.
For the game, the Lions recorded 10 hits as a team. Sharp and A. Barnette each went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Corn and Young were each 2-for-4 in the second game.
North Alabama will return home for its next three opponents. UNA will take on Kentucky State Tuesday with the double-header set to begin at 2 p.m. The Lions will see West Alabama again with another GSC double-header set for 5 p.m. on Saturday before hosting Lambuth the following day for two games beginning at 3 p.m. at the UNA Softball Complex.