FLORENCE — North Alabama’s bats livened up with two outs on a cold, rainy Tuesday afternoon at Mike Lane Field.
That was especially so during a six-run fourth inning that saw the Lions string together four hits, two outs as seven straight batters reached base.
The outburst gave the Lions a six-run lead, and ultimately it proved enough for UNA (6-4) to hold off visiting Trevecca Nazarene, 10-8.
The Trojans (7-6) made it interesting, scoring the game’s final five runs during the last three innings and had the tying run at second base with one out in the top of the ninth before UNA closed the door.
UNA led by as much as 10-3 and took a five-run lead into the ninth.
The Lions scored eight of their 12 runs and accounted for nine of their 12 hits with two outs.
“That’s something we hadn’t done a good job of, and it was something I was really pleased to see,” coach Mike Keehn said. “We had some things defensively and with pitching. They have a good team. They never gave up. We were fortunate to get out of here with a win.”
With the score tied at 3 and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Josh Cyr singled to spark the surge. Dylan Boston followed with a go-ahead RBI double.
Andrew Almon added a two-run single, Bradley Noland doubled and Taylor Bonifacio was hit by pitch to load the bases. Josh Carpenter then singled in a run — the Lions’ fifth two-out hit in the inning — and two more scored on an error on a misplayed ground ball down the first baseline for a 9-3 lead.
Carpenter singled in the bottom of the sixth, and Jake Ward scored him on a two-out double to left field to make it a seven-run game.
“This season, this was the best two-out hitting we’ve had,” said Boston, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and leads the Lions, batting .500. “It really helped us out. It’s just one of those things where hitting gets contagious.”
The Trojans used back-to-back one-out doubles and a two-out single to score two runs on UNA reliever Jacob Westerhouse in the seventh and pull within 10-5.
In the ninth, Trevecca loaded the bases with none out and had the tying run on second with one out.
UNA reliever Morgan McCarley allowed a single, a double, a walk and an RBI single to the inning’s first four batters.
Daymon Eriksen relieved McCarley, and an error by Cyr on a ground ball to first base scored another Trevecca run.
Another scored on a ground out to second, putting the tying run at second base, but Eriksen got a fly out to right field and a strikeout to end it.
“Daymon was in a role he’s never been in,” Keehn said. “I had him up and down (in the bullpen) the whole game. He did a good job being able to come in and get us out of that jam.
“We thought going into the season, it was solidified and everybody knew their roles, but we’re still working on it right now,” Keehn added about the bullpen. “The biggest thing right now is getting them to come in, throw strikes and get ahead. We’re getting behind too much, and that’s a big reason why teams are having success against us.”
Ward went 3-for-6 with two RBIs for UNA. Matthew Tittle was 2-for-6 and Carpenter went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
UNA starter Eric Wilson pitched 4 2/3 innings and finished an out short of a decision, walking three and striking out one while allowing six hits and three earned runs.
Drew Mobley (1-1) relieved him during a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the fifth, and he left them full, getting a pop out to first. He took the win, allowing one hit in 1 1/3 innings.
Mark Rayburn led Trevecca with three hits, including a two-out solo home run off Wilson in the third.
UNA hosts Shorter this weekend in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m.
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @bappster on Twitter.