Baseball wins series versus rival West Alabama

North Alabama junior outfielder T.J. Lockett swings away at a ball in the Lions’ game versus Shorter Feb. 26 at Mike Lane Field. The Lions maintained the top spot in the Gulf South Conference standings with a 2-1 home series win over rival West Alabama.

The North Alabama baseball team was back at Mike Lane Field March 18-19 to face rival West Alabama in Gulf South Conference action. The Lions came away with a 2-1 series win over the Tigers.

The wins bring the Lions’ record to 16-9 overall and 11-4 in conference play.

With UNA in first place and UWA tied for fourth in the GSC standings, the Lions 8-7 win in game one and their 13-5 win in game three could prove pivotal for the team going forward.

Head coach Mike Keehn said he does not want to focus too much on a single series win because he knows every weekend is a grind in the GSC.

“That’s the way it is in this conference,” Keehn said “You go to West Florida, and then you’ve got Lee, and then you’ve got West Alabama and now we head to Delta State. You can’t afford any bad slip-ups along the way.”

Keehn said he thought the series against UWA was a great opportunity for the team to test themselves when faced under pressure.

“This whole weekend has been pressure inning after pressure inning,” Keehn said. “Our pitchers maybe created some stuff, we made a mistake, give up a hit but they seem to find a way to get the pitch when they need it and keep them from doing any more damage.”

Senior pitcher Devan Traglia said he knows exactly what Keehn means after leaving 14 West Alabama base runners stranded in the game.

“It felt like every time I was out there we had two outs and someone on third.” Traglia said. “But, we worked out of it and got a good win today all around, defense and hitting, and Logan (Carter) did a great job behind the plate.”

One of the major contributors on offense for the Lions was junior center fielder T.J. Lockett. Lockett had five hits during the series and reached base eight times.

“Yesterday we didn’t attack the fast balls like we normally do,” Lockett said. “Today we made adjustments and were able to attack and get some hits. We always work on our approach when we’re behind in counts and try to spoil good pitches.”

The Lions will head to Delta State March 25-26 for another important GSC series. The Statesmen are tied for second in conference standings and are just two games behind UNA.