UNA sweeps in final day at GSC Crossover

The University of North Alabama softball team ended play at the 2011 Gulf South Conference Crossover on a high note Sunday afternoon, sweeping a pair of games from Arkansas-Monticello and Christian Brothers to finish the event with a 4-3 record. UNA knocked off the No. 20 Cotton Blossoms 4-0 in the early games before wrapping up play at Decatur's Wilson Morgan Park with a 7-3 win over to Lady Buccaneers.

Following the crossover, where all seven games against GSC West teams counted in the conference standings, the Lions own a 13-21 record with an 8-10 mark in league play.

In the early game against UAM, Evalena Behr pitched a two-hit shutout for UNA. The sophomore from Hollywood, Fla., added seven strikeouts and improved to 4-6 as the Lions knocked off their second ranked opponent of the season.

An RBI-single by Alex Kieffer scored Sarah Corn in the bottom of the second inning to give the Lions a 1-0 lead. In the second, Natalie Harrison led off the inning with a walk before stealing second base. She scored on an RBI-single by Jennifer Sharp to put North Alabama ahead 2-0.

UNA used a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third to put the game away. After a UAM fielding error extended the inning, the Lions got a two-out double by Harrison to score Ali Barnette and Julie Mercer.

Barnette finished the game 2-for-2 at the plate to lead the Lions.

In the second game, UNA rallied from two different deficits before pulling away in the late innings. Christian Brothers led 1-0 after the top of the first inning and held a 3-1 advantage after batting in the third. The Lions were able to tie the game in the bottom of each frame before using a four-run sixth inning to secure the win.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, North Alabama was able to load the bases with two out. Sarah Corn was then hit by a pitch to bring home the tying run. The hit batter was the first of six for the CBU pitching staff in the game.

The Buccaneers grabbed a 3-1 lead in the top of the third when a double by Marie Joiner scored two runs. UNA responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs of its own. After loading the bases again, the Lions scored on a sacrifice fly by Mercer, then got another RBI-single from Kieffer to tie the game.

North Alabama took the lead for good after sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Corn made the score 5-3 with a two-run single before advancing to third base on a UAM fielding error on the play. She later scored on a wild pitch to put the Lions ahead 6-3.

Kieffer wrapped up the scoring with her third RBI of the day when her single through the left side scored Barnette from third base. For the game, the Lions totaled 10 hits, including two each from Sharp and Kieffer.

Haley Barnette picked up the win in the circle with a three-hit complete game performance. The freshman added three strikeouts to improve to 7-10 on the season.

UNA will return home next weekend for a pair of key GSC series against West Florida and Valdosta State. The Lions will take on VSU Friday at 1 p.m. before hosting UWF the following day at noon.