Lions advance in tournament with shutout victory

Junior pitcher Hillary Carpenter tosses a pitch against Delta State April 28 in the Gulf South Conference tournament. The Lions advance to the second round to face Valdosta State April 29 at 3 p.m.

The UNA softball team had no problem carrying their regular season momentum into the first round of the 2016 Gulf South Conference tournament April 28.

The Lions used steady defense, solid pitching and timely hitting to knock off Delta State 4-0. Junior pitcher Hillary Carpenter shut out the Lady Statesmen in front of a packed house at the UNA Softball Complex.

Despite walking six Delta State hitters, Carpenter was able to keep runners from scoring throughout the night.

“(Carpenter) really kept their big batters off balance,” said head coach Ashley Cozart. “She worked out of jams and didn’t really give up any big hits.”

Cozart said the standing room only crowd helped the Lions settle into the game.

“My adrenaline was pumping and going,” Cozart said. “I think the atmosphere was wonderful.”

Senior first baseman Brooklynn Clark hit a deep home run to left field in the third inning to spark the Lions. Senior second baseman Madeline Lee had an RBI double for the Lions to close the scoring.

The Lions hope to settle into the tournament and prepare for a championship run, Cozart said.

“(The Lions) are always just loose and ready to go into battle,” Cozart said. “This is the team I want to battle with, no matter what.”

After loading the bases in the 7th inning, Carpenter was able to battle back and get the final two outs. Delta stranded all three base runners and left the tying run at the plate.

Clark said she was never worried about the outcome.

“I don’t ever get nervous with this team,” Clark said. “We take care of business when we have to.”

UNA advances to play Valdosta State April 29 at 3 p.m.