Lions secure series win with rain stoppage

Senior Chris Blakey gets ready to hit against Lee March 12 at Mike D. Lane Field. The Lions took the series with a 10-2 win in a rain shortened game March 13. 

by Associate Sports Editor Jacob Cole

North Alabama baseball fought the rain in its series-deciding matchup against Lee Monday morning, but the Lions claimed its fifth-straight series win this season with a 10-2 victory.

The teams initially scheduled the game for 2 p.m., but moved it up to 10 a.m. due to incoming rain. The teams made it through seven complete innings before calling a rain delay midway through the top of the eight. After waiting for about 30 minutes, both coaches agreed to stop the game.

After splitting the first two games of the series, the Lions (14-7, 9-3 GSC) used a strong offensive performance and a solid pitching effort from senior Devan Traglia, who pitched all seven innings and gave up two hits while striking out nine batters.

“Traglia pitched very well, and our pitchers have done a good job of keeping us in every game,” said UNA head coach Mike Keehn. “Today we swung the bats well and pitched well, so that has been the key to our consistency.”

Lee grabbed an early run in the first inning to gain the early advantage, but the Lions did not let the lead last long. UNA’s offense exploded in the second inning with five runs and carried its momentum into the next two bottom halves.

Senior second baseman Chris Blakey and junior outfielder T.J. Lockett contributed RBI singles to start the second inning. Junior catcher Logan Carter drove in a run with a fielder’s choice, and junior third baseman Kyle Hubbuch singled in two runs to give UNA the 5-1 lead in the second inning.

Redshirt junior outfielder Ben Cooley hit an RBI double to score junior first baseman Brandt Holland, stretching the lead in the third inning to 6-1.

The Lions scored three runs in the fourth inning to add to a commanding 9-1 lead. Senior outfielder Drake Tucker hit an RBI double, while Holland and Cooley added RBI singles.

Lee hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, but UNA answered, as Tucker collected another RBI with a single to give UNA the 10-2 win.

Every UNA player in the starting lineup tallied a hit, including multi-hit games from five players. Hubbuch, Tucker and Cooley each drove in two runs.

“We took advantage of their mistakes, and we had more depth up and down our lineup today,” Keehn said. “We had a good quality day at the plate.”

With today’s win, UNA sits atop the GSC standings with a one-game advantage over Valdosta State and in-state rival West Alabama.

The Lions will travel to Montevallo March 15 before returning to Mike Lane Field to play West Alabama in a three-game weekend series March 18-19.