FLORENCE, Ala. — A tough offensive day for Bellarmine softball led to a pair of ASUN losses at North Alabama on Friday.
The Knights (10-31, 1-13 ASUN) lost Game 1 9-0 in five sets and lost a tight Game 2 2-1 to the Lions (29-11, 8-6 ASUN) . Between the two games, Bellarmine totaled six base hits on the day.
North Alabama ran away late in the first contest with help from the long ball. With a scoreless game coming in the bottom of the third, UNA pitched nine unanswered in the next three innings.
In the home half of the third, UNA scored a pair on back-to-back solo homers from Brooke Burback and Haven Kirby. The fourth inning featured a two-run outburst to Georgia Land center field. With a 4-0 lead in the fifth, the Lions exploded for five points to end the game. Hailey Jones drove home on wild pitch, setting up a walk from Emma Broadfoot to charge the goals again with a 5-0 advantage. Harley Stokes hit a no-date grand slam, ending the match by run rule in the fifth inning.
Bellarmine only had one hit in Game 1 – a double to right-center from Hannah Webb in the fourth inning.
Carson Goatley got the start for the Knights and went 3.2 innings. Claire Lehmkuhler pitched the final inning for the Knights. UNA ace Maci Birdyshaw allowed just one hit in five innings and struck out seven en route to his 13and win of the season.
Unlike Game 1, early runs were key for North Alabama in Game 2. Jones sent an RBI brace to right center field down the first to quickly push UNA up 1-0. Land started the second inning with a home run to left center field and North Alabama led 2-0.
Bellarmine’s offense was more active on the first pitch in Game 2, with the Knights threatening in the first inning. A Alexis Hargrove walk, Webb single to left field and wild pitch had runners at second and third for BU with just one out. North Alabama escaped the inning, however, prompting an out and a strikeout. A pair of scatter singles over the next five innings was not enough to take the lead.
In the seventh inning, the Knights scored their first run of the day with a game opener Chloe Collins home run to left center. It cut the lead to 2-1 and brought Bellarmine to life. Emily O’Dee then offered a single two-shot clutch to keep the game alive and bring the go-ahead to the plate. Olivia Bricker lined up at second base, however, ending the game.
Collins’ homer was the fifth of his first season, a mark that leads the team. Webb finished the day with a team-high three hits. Goatley also started Game 2, pitching three innings. Megan Murphy was very strong in the last three innings of Game 2, allowing only one hit out of 12 batters faced. Elena Escobar earned the full game victory for North Alabama.
The teams will wrap up their three-game series with a single game tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. CT).
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