UNA softball sweeps top conference opponent

Senior third baseman Harlie Barkley prepares to field a ball during UNA’s 8-5 win against Delta State March 26. The Lions extended their longest winning streak in school history to 18 games with the win.

by Sports Editor Mike Ezekiel

The UNA softball team continued its historic run, extending its win streak to 18 games by sweeping Delta State in a three-game series.

After an 8-5 victory in game three Saturday, the No.4 Lions improved to a 35-4 overall record are 19-2 in conference play. Both teams were tied for first place in the Gulf South Conference coming into the series, but UNA now has sole possession of first.

“We knew (Delta State) was playing good ball and have beat some really good teams,” said UNA coach Ashley Cozart. “We knew we would have to come out and play. I can’t say enough about our girls.”

In the first two games Friday, the Lions recorded 7-3 and 9-1 victories. Senior Brooklyn Clark finished 6-for-7 in the double header, leading the Lions to 25 total hits on the day.

In game three, the Lions gave up an early run in the first inning, but immediately answered with a solo shot from Reagan Tittle to tie the game.  With a 4-3 lead in the bottom the sixth, UNA scored four straight runs to lead 8-3. Two seventh-inning runs were not enough, as UNA capped the sweep.

Cozart said Tittle’s solo shot in the first inning of game three quickly changed the game.

“(Tittle) has the ability to change the game with her bat,” she said. “It happened when we needed it the most. They went up 1-0, we got two quick outs in the inning, then she hits a bomb and that changed things.”

The Lions achieved their highest ranking in school history last week, jumping two spots in the NFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll to No. 4. Next week’s opponent, Alabama-Huntsville, fell from No. 3 in the nation to No. 10 last week.

In the midst of a record-breaking season, Cozart said the attitude in the locker room is to “not settle” with the current accolades.

“We’re just trying to take things day by day,” Cozart said. “We rarely talk about records, rankings and who we’re playing. We’re just kind of doing us. We just want to keep things the same and keep that confidence.”

The Lions travel to UAH for a crucial three-game conference series in Huntsville between two top-ten teams April 2-3.