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Bears stay alive, run-rule Governors

by Sam Lane | May 12, 2023 at 2:06 a.m.

ASUN Softball Tournament

North Alabama 2, Central Arkansas 0

Central Arkansas 10, Austin Peay 1 (5)

It was a rocky start to the postseason for the University of Central Arkansas.

The top-seeded Bears were shut out in their opening game of the ASUN Tournament in DeLand, Fla., falling 2-0 to No. 5 North Alabama with four total hits against pitcher Maci Birdyshaw.

UCA (40-10) rebounded by cruising to a 10-1 run-rule win over No. 7 Austin Peay in the consolation bracket Thursday afternoon.

Against North Alabama (33-14-1), UCA fell behind after the first inning. North Alabama scored one run thanks to a Georgia Land RBI single and a second from a Gracie Benton RBI double to take a 2-0 before UCA had an at-bat.

The Bears went 4 for 24 against Birdyshaw. She forced 11 flyouts, three groundouts and struck out six batters.

Early in the game against Austin Peay (27-24), it looked like UCA was in for more of the same. The Governors took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Mea Clark's single down the right field line scored Macee Roberts.

The UCA offense came back to life in the third inning, scoring eight runs. Tremere Harris got things started with an RBI single. That was followed by a run scored off an Austin Peay throwing error and RBI singles from Madi Young and Morgan Nelson to make the score 4-1.

Jaylee Engelkes removed any remaining doubt of the result with a grand slam to make it 8-1

McKayla Betts hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to push the lead to 9-1 before Josie Willingham drew a bases-loaded walk two batters later to make it 10-1.

Kayla Beaver (21-6) allowed one run on seven hits and a walk in her 9 2/3 innings of work Thursday, striking out four batters. She threw four 2/3 hitless innings in relief of Johnson against North Alabama.

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