HUNTSVILLE – After knocking off West Alabama in an elimination game earlier in the day, the University of North Alabama softball team’s season came to an end Saturday with a 10-4 loss to Barry at the NCAA South Region Tournament in Huntsville.
The Lions began the day by eliminating fellow Gulf South Conference foe West Alabama 7-1 to stay alive. Nikki Hodges went 3-for-3 at the plate and Breanna Riley set a single-season record with her 19th pitching victory of the year. The sophomore from Hartselle went the distance in the circle, totaling 94 pitches and nine strikeouts. She finished the season with a GSC-leading 178 strikeouts.
West Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning but would never score again. UNA tied the game with a solo home run by Shelby Goodman in the bottom of the second, then added three runs each in the bottom of the fourth and fifth frames. A two-run double by the Lions’ lone senior Summer Wilkerson wrapped up the scoring in the fifth inning.
At the plate, Callie Steadman also went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs.
In the second game, Barry scored seven runs over its final two innings at the plate to pull away for the 10-4 victory. UNA led 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth innings before the Bucs plated three runs to grab a 6-4 lead. Barry added four runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
In a game that featured four ties and four lead changes, Steadman went 3-for-4 with four RBI to help the Lions keep pace. She had an RBI-double and an RBI-single before adding a two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning.
Goodman also finished the game with two hits. Riley, who threw a total of 179 pitches throughout both games, took the loss to finish the season with a 19-10 record.
After chasing school records and other accomplishments of the program’s only other NCAA tournament team in 2006, North Alabama’s 2013 squad ironically finished with the same record at 40-20. The Lions broke or tied 11 single-game and single-season records at the team and individual levels.
Team record set in 2013 include most hits in a season (572), most RBI in a season (330), most doubles in a season (108), most at-bats in a season (1,692) and best team batting average (.338). The Lions also tied the school record for most wins (40) and games (60) in a season.
Individually, Steadman’s 26 doubles and Riley’s 18 pitching wins are also a new school records while Goodman (three consecutive home runs in a single game) and Mallory Patterson (six RBI in a single game) also tied previous records.
Courtesy: UNA Media Relations