Softball team hitting on all cylinders leading to wins

Sophomore outfielder Amy Carden gets ready for the pitch against the University of West Alabama Feb. 28. The Lions are (28-5, 13-4) on the season and are on a seven-game winning streak.

by Sports Editor Dustin Pollard

The softball team was unable to go to the beach last week but spring break could not have been any better for the Lions.

The Lions swept the No. 7 University of Alabama-Huntsville March 28-29 by the scores of 2-0, 3-2 and 3-1. With the three victories, UNA leaped over the Chargers for second place in the Gulf South Conference standings.

“These wins are just huge for our program,” said head coach Ashley Cozart. “Our girls have been working hard all year long for this.”

The Lions pitching performed well as usual and the bats came up when the team needed them to the most against UAH.

“Our pitching has been wonderful all year and our bats came through when we needed them to, and our defense all-around has done a great job,” Cozart said. “UAH is such a great team, too, and I’m just really happy to come away with the wins.”

UAH is not the only team to be the victim of the Lions stellar play lately as UNA (28-5, 13-4) has won seven straight games and 12 of its last 13.

“We came (in against UAH) as the underdog and we just wanted to go out there and prove something,” said senior outfielder Libby Olinger. “I felt confident the whole time and I just knew we were going to win from the beginning.”

The Lions are doing its damage both at the plate and on the mound. UNA leads all of D-II with the lowest team ERA at 1.07 and the offense is third in the conference in hits (279), batting average (.316) and runs (195).

“Even during close games we don’t get down and I know in the end we’re going to pull it out and get the win,” said freshman shortstop Reagan Tittle.

Even if the Lions are unable to score runs on offense the pitching staff and stout defense keeps the team confident throughout game, Olinger said.

“I know if I don’t get the key hit when I need to I know our defense is going to go out there and shut them down and our pitching staff is going to shut them down,” she said. “We’re going to find a way to win. We really feed off our defense.”

The defense is equally as impressive as the offense as the team is first in the GSC with a .980 fielding percentage. The Lions have committed 18 errors, which is lowest in the conference.

Olinger said the Spring Hill College game played March 24 set the tone for the whole week. The Lions trailed in the game 4-0 after the first inning but battled back and won 5-4 in 10 innings.

“That game let us know that we can come back from anything,” Olinger said.

Cozart said the success of the team this season has people getting exciting about UNA softball.

“The girls are working hard,” she said. “The biggest thing is we just have such great team chemistry.”