Lions start World Series with statement win

Brooklynn Clark shows emotion after hitting a double against Rollins in the NCAA Super Regional May 11 at the UNA Softball Complex. Clark went 3-3 with two home runs and five RBIs in the first round of the Division II World Series in Denver.

by Managing Editor Mike Ezekiel

The big stage and change of conditions in Denver had no effect on the UNA softball team.

The Lions dominated their way to a 9-0 mercy rule win against Southern Arkansas in the Division II World Series Opening Round.

After receiving the Division II Conference Commissioners Association player of the year today, senior first baseman Brooklynn Clark drove in five RBI’s on two home runs to lift the offense to victory. With three hits in the game, Clark added another accolade to her individual season, breaking the Gulf South Conference record for most individual hits in a season with 103.

In the postgame press conference, reporters informed Clark of her player of the year honor, which sparked a surprise reaction.

“Oh, I didn’t even know I was up for it,” Clark said.

Junior pitcher Hillary Carpenter complimented the offense with her 37th straight shutout inning, allowing three hits. Carpenter has only allowed nine hits in five starts since regional play.

“Hillary did an amazing job on the mound for us,” said UNA head coach Ashley Cozart. “Any time she takes the mound, she gives us confidence, and that’s what we used for that first inning (scoring).”

Sophomore shortstop Reagan Tittle added two hits to the parade, smashing a two-run homer in the first inning, followed by a double in her next at-bat. Senior third baseman Harlie Barkley and junior designated player Anna Gayle Norris each drove in one run to cap the scoring.

Cozart said she credits the dominant performance to the team’s ability to remain calm, cool and collected.

“(Staying loose) was the biggest thing we wanted to do,” she said. “We wanted to just go into it and just be us. That’s what we’ve been saying all year long. Even before the game, we were out there playing games, laughing, cutting up, and we really took that momentum into the game.”

The Lions now advance to face the winner of Adelphi and Charleston (West Virginia) May 18 at 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit the NCAA Division II Softball Championship homepage.