JACKSON, Tenn. - 5/4/2012 - The Union University softball team, ranked No. 13 in the NAIA and top-seed in this week’s TranSouth Tournament, swept through the tournament to claim the title. Union clinched the automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament with a 4-3 victory over 2-seed Freed-Hardeman University in the championship game.
The tournament was played on a neutral field at the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex in Jackson. Union won the opening game over Lyon (Ark.) 11-2. Then defeated Cumberland 2-1 Thursday, before winning twice over Freed-Hardeman, first 10-2 to send the Lady Lions to the loser’s bracket, and then 4-3 to clinch the title.
Up next for Union will be a the NAIA Softball National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. May 17-23. Union softball is making their seventh appearance in the NAIA National Tournament and first since 2005. Union’s best finish was a third place finish in 2001.
Union won the winner’s bracket final earlier in the day over Freed-Hardeman 10-2 to advance to the final game. Freed-Hardeman rebounded after their first tourney loss to defeat Martin Methodist 9-1 and get to a rematch game with Union.
Union scored first in the title game with a pair of runs in the second inning. Union added a third run in the next frame. Jenyce Spence led Union with a 3-for-3 day with two RBI, two runs, including a solo home run. The Lady Lions responded with a run in the fourth and a pair of runs in the fifth on a 2-RBI single form Kamara Trice.
With the game tied at 3-3, Union took the lead right back in the bottom of the fifth. Spence scored when DeShuni Sanders got in a rundown situation following a single that moved Spence to third base. Spence beat the throw home, scoring the winning run. Shelby Lamb, the league’s player of the year, was 2-for-4 in the game. Union got 10 hits in the contest and left nine runners on base.
Kelly Robey (20-4), the conference freshman of the year, started the game and went five innings, allowing three runs, two earned on five hits with 11 strikeouts. Brooke Thomas earned her first save of the season with 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hits and getting one strikeout.
Union took the earlier game on the day over Freed-Hardeman 10-2. Thomas (22-6) earned the complete game victory, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Union scored three runs in the first and seven in the third to win 10-2. Lamb was 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs. Stephanie Saunders added 10 hits and Union against pounded out 10 hits in the game.
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