Lions extend win streak with sweep

by Sports Editor Jacob Cole

The North Alabama Lions swept the Christian Brother Bucs to extend their win streak to seven games.

North Alabama improved to 30-14 overall and 20-10 in the Gulf South Conference. The Lions handed the Bucs its 30 GSC loss and its seventeenth consecutive loss.

Head coach Ashley Cozart was pleased with the way the team performed throughout the series, but she credited the hitting to be the catalyst for the Lions.

“I was proud of our bats,” Coazrt said. “It was huge for us. People always ask what’s the key to the game and when we are hitting, our defense and pitching plays better. It just makes us a better team.”

Game one of the series was an offensive showcase as both teams scored three runs in the first inning. Freshman Sydney Sanders doubled in a run, and junior Marissa Hancock blasted a two-run home run off the top of the scoreboard to knot the game at three.

Freshman Hannah Shollenberger hit a RBI single and junior Bailey Nelson scored on an error to give UNA the lead. Senior Amy Craden, Hancock and Nelson drove in runs for the Lions late in the game.

Senior Raven Cole pitched all seven innings earning the win. Cole allowed six runs on ten hits while striking out five.

The Lions were led by senior pitcher Hillary Carpenter in game two. Carpenter threw allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings to gain the win.

Sanders opened game two with a solo home run for the Lions. Christian Brothers answered with two runs in the top of the second inning to take the lead. UNA scored two runs in the fourth and fifth inning to win game two 5-2. Senior Anna Gayle Norris scored a run on a sac fly, Shollenberger and Sanders hit RBI doubles and junior Reagan Tittle drove in a run off an error.

The Lions mercy ruled the Bucs in game three scoring five runs in the third inning.

Sophomore Hannah Bodenhorn allowed one unearned run on five hits over five innings to earn her sixth win of the year.

Bodenhorn said she takes the game three pressure in stride.  

“The third game is the clincher and you have to get the win in the third game,” Bodenhorn said. “It’s a lot of pressure, but the hitters help me out.”

Sophomore Shelby Woodard went 3 for 3 driving in four runs for the Lions. Norris, Tittle, Hancock and Sanders drove in runs to aid the Lions in the win.

The Lions will travel to Valdosta State for the last series of the season April 29-30 before the GSC Tournament starts. Cozart hopes the sweep against Christian Brothers will propel the team into the weekend series against Valdosta.

“I think having a good day today and having that momentum is big for us going into Valdosta,” Coazrt said. “How we feel is how we are going to play so it gives us confidence.”