Lady Chargers, Lions split pivotal GSC doubleheader

The University of North Alabama softball team split the first two games of a three-game Gulf South Conference double-header at UAH on Saturday. The Lions won the opener 1-0 before falling 4-2 in the nightcap. The two teams will play the deciding game Sunday at 1 p.m. at Charger Park on the UAH campus.

In the opener, Libby Olinger's RBI-single in the top of the seventh inning provided the only run in a 1-0 victory for the Lions. The hit scored Courtney Phillips from second base and gave UNA a 1-0 lead that held in the bottom of the frame.

Phillips pinch ran for Kaylee Jones, who singled up the middle with one out in the top of the inning. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Amy Carden to bring Olinger to the plate. The junior from Decatur hit a 1-1 pitch to center field to score the go-ahead run.

UAH got a lead-off double by Mary Kelley in the bottom of the seventh, before UNA starter Bree Blevins sat down the next three batters to preserve the win. For the game, Blevins allowed just two hits in the complete-game shutout. She added four strikeouts on the day.

North Alabama totaled five hits in the opener, including a 2-for-3 showing by Shelby Goodman.

In the second game, UNA could not hold a 2-0 lead. After the Lions plated two runs in the top of the fourth inning, UAH responded with two of its own in the bottom of the frame.

An RBI-single by Harlie Barkley got UNA on the scoreboard first. Barkley later scored on a double to left center by Chloe Wolf.

The Chargers answered in their half of the fourth with an RBI-single and an unearned run off a UNA fielding error. After a scoreless fifth inning, Tyler Harrison gave UAH the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run home run to left center.

Blevins (15-5) took the loss in the circle after pitching the fifth and sixth innings for UNA. She entered with the game tied at 2-2 and surrendered two runs off six hits. Hillary Carpenter started the game for the Lions, working four innings before leaving with an injury.

At the plate, Olinger was the only multiple-hit player for UNA, going 3-for-4 with three singles.