After forcing a deciding game with a 2-1 victory in the opener, the University of North Alabama softball team dropped a 4-2 decision to Florida Tech in the championship game of the NCAA Division II Softball South 2 Regional Sunday afternoon at home. The loss ends the Lions' season with a 38-14 record.
Florida Tech (38-18) advanced to the super regional by manufacturing a single run in the bottom of the first inning and scoring three runs in the second. The Lions cut the lead in half with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, but could get no closer. UNA left 14 runners on base after out-hitting the Panthers 10-4 in the final game.
Trailing 4-0, the Lions broke through in the top of the fifth inning. Reagan Tittle led off with a single, then scored on an RBI-double by Libby Olinger. After a walk by Ashley Bonner, a double by Madeline Lee made the score 4-2 with only one out. Florida Tech intentionally walked Brittany Gillison to load the bases before relief pitcher Rachel Pence got a fly out and a ground to end the threat.
UNA got base runners in every inning and had a runner reach third base in six of the seven frames. The Lions had runners at first and second with no outs in the top of the seventh before Pence got a strikeout and two straight ground outs to end the game.
Tittle and Lee each went 2-for-4 in the second game. Bree Blevins took the pitching loss after scattering six hits over four innings with a pair of strikeouts.
In the first game the Lions scored twice to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning and held on for the win. A two-run homerun by Olinger provided all the runs UNA would need. Courtney Shields doubled to lead off the frame. After a fly out by Tittle, Olinger connected on a 2-0 pitch to deep left center.
Florida Tech closed the gap with a single run in the bottom of the sixth. The Panthers recorded back-to-back singles to score their first run, then had runners at second and third with one out. UNA starter Hillary Carpenter, however, got a pop up and a strikeout to end the threat. After getting a runner on base in the seventh, FIT failed to score, setting up the deciding game.
Lee and Brooklynn Clark each went 2-for-3 in the opener. Carpenter worked seven innings without an earned run. She stuck out two and finished the season with a 22-6 record.