Errors fuel sweep of UNA softball team

Sophomore right fielder Shelby Woodard attempts a swing against Lee March 11 at the UNA Softball Complex. The UNA softball team suffered its first home series sweep to a Gulf South Conference opponent in over three years March 11-12 with three straight losses to Lee.

by Student Writer Austin Peacock

For the first time in four seasons under head coach Ashley Cozart, the UNA softball team suffered a home sweep to a Gulf South Conference opponent, as the Lions fell to the Lee Flames in three games March 11-12.

UNA (16-10, 6-6 GSC) managed only three extra base hits over the three games, and costly errors were a recurring theme in the sweep, as the No. 21 Lions lost by scores of 3-1, 3-0 and 4-3.

Cozart said she expected more from her offense in the losses.

“The pressure is on the hitters,” Cozart said. “We have to hit to win because the pitchers did their job.”

The team fell 3-1 in the opening game March 11 after Lee took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a throwing error with the bases loaded. Lee would never looked back.

Trailing 3-0, the Lions mounted a late comeback bid in the final inning of the opening game with runners on first and second base.

Sophomore catcher Mackenzie Roberts hit a ball to deep right center field that looked like a game-tying home run before Lee center fielder Courtney Crawford reached her glove up and robbed Roberts of a homer.

Freshman third baseman Hannah Shollenberger would then hit an RBI single to close the gap to 3-1. After junior center fielder Bailey Nelson walked to load the bases, pinch hitter Katie Parr grounded out to the pitcher, giving Lee the 3-1 victory.

Senior Hillary Carpenter (8-4) pitched a complete game for the Lions, giving up seven hits and three unearned runs. Carpeter recorded seven strikeouts in the loss.

Three errors marred the Lions in Game 2 of the series, ensuring Lee would leave Florence with a series win after a 3-0 victory.

UNA only mustered six hits while having three fielding errors, making two of Lee’s three runs unearned. Senior Raven Cole (5-4) went the distance going all seven innings, giving up six hits and allowing only one earned run.

Lee completed the sweep after earning a 4-3 win in the nightcap. Lee catcher Brooklynn Frazier hit a three-run home run in the top of the first to set the tone the rest of the way.

The Lions got one run back in the bottom of the second on an RBI groundout from Nelson to cut the lead to 3-1, but Lee responded with an RBI double in the top of the third to extend the lead to 4-1.

Junior Marissa Hancock belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to start the Lions’ comeback bid, but Lee managed to silence the Lions bats in the bottom of the seventh to secure the series sweep.

Sophomore Hannah Bodenhorn (2-1) took the loss on two innings of work, giving up three runs off five hits. Freshman Marissa Honeycutt entered the game and pitched five innings, allowing one run in relief.

Cozart said she hopes the weekend sweep will spark some motivation within the clubhouse.

“I’m hoping this will fire the girls up,” she said. “It’s a battle every week, so I hope this feeling helps us next weekend.”

The Lions will look to bounce back next weekend as they take on West Alabama in a GSC matchup in Florence March 18. Game 1 of the doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. at the UNA Softball Complex.