Lions power over Hawks to win series

North Alabama downed Shorter 8-0 in Game 3 to win the series over the Hawks. Senior pitcher Hillary Carpenter tosses the ball in the Game 1 win. 

After splitting a Saturday doubleheader, the North Alabama softball team picked up a weekend series win over Shorter with an 8-0 victory Sunday afternoon.

The Lions run-ruled Shorter to win the series behind three UNA homeruns, including one grand slam by junior Marissa Hancock to lead UNA to victory.

Head softball coach Ashley Cozart said the team’s performance in the rubber match Sunday was pleasing after seeing it fall in a 10-0 mercy rule loss the previous night.

“I’m most proud of our win (Sunday),” Coazrt said. “After you get run-ruled like we did Saturday, you come out and run rule a team, and I’m just proud of that.”

Game 1 of the series turned into a back-and-forth affair after a scoreless first three innings. Freshman catcher Sydney Sanders hit an RBI groundout to score junior Reagan Tittle from third and give UNA a 1-0 lead.

A single allowed Shorter’s Taylor Martin to cross home plate and tie the ballgame at 1-1. Two unearned runs soon followed to give Shorter a 3-1 lead after the top of the fifth inning.

The Lions responded in the bottom half with four runs of their own, including two-run single from freshman utility player Hannah Shollenberger to reclaim and keep the lead for good.

Senior pitcher Hillary Carpenter (6-3) went the distance for UNA, pitching all seven innings, allowing two earned runs with three strikeouts and two walks.

Game 2 did not treat the Lions kindly. UNA only mustered two hits while Shorter scored early and often to win 10-0 in five innings.

Raven Cole (5-2) took the loss after pitching 3.1 innings. She allowed seven runs (three earned) off four hits. Freshman pitcher Marissa Honeycutt then took over and pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowed three runs off three hits.

UNA returned the favor to Shorter in the rubber match on Sunday winning 8-0 in similar fashion.

Sophomore pitcher Hannah Bodenhorn threw five innings of shutout, no-hit softball to earn her second win of the season.

Tittle ripped an RBI single to left to start the scoring in the first inning. Hancock then drilled a grand slam to center field to give UNA an early 5-0 lead to work with.

Senior Anna Gayle Norris singled in junior Bailey Nelson in the second inning to extend the lead to 6-0. In the bottom of the fifth, Norris hit a solo home run to pull within one run of the mercy rule. Shollenberger then sent the Lions home when she hit the game ending home run for the 8-0 win.

Norris said this series proved why team softball is important.

“Whether you’re in the game or not, everyone has a role to play,” Norris said. “It’s crucial we have all those roles filled, and I think we did that today.”

UNA will return to the field this weekend as they travel to Pensacola, Florida to take on West Florida in a Gulf South Conference series March 4-5.