Pensacola, Fla. — North Alabama used timely hitting and key defensive plays Thursday morning during an 8-3 victory against Southern Arkansas in the opening round of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament on the campus of the West Florida. The Lions scored seven of their eight runs with two outs while Trey Mitchell improved to 12-2 on the season on the mound.

UNA (36-12) opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with a two-out single by JP LaMunyon to score Michael Schmidt from third base. Schmidt later made the score 2-0 in the second with a two-out hit of his own, scoring Nick McGregor on the play.

In the top of the fifth, UNA scored its only run of the day without two outs on the board with back-to-back hits to start the inning. An RBI-double by Schmidt brought home McGregor to give the Lions a 3-0 lead. Schmidt and McGregor each finished the day 4-for-5 at the plate.

After the Muleriders cut the deficit to 3-1 with a single run in the bottom of the fifth, UNA regained control of the game with a four-run sixth inning. A pair of two-out RBI-singles by Schmidt and McGregor made the score 5-1 before Josh Cyr drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Lions a five-run lead. A single to left center by Jake Sloan then scored two runs to put UNA on top 7-1.

North Alabama wrapped up its scoring in the top of the seventh inning. After singling to reach base, Josh Carpenter took advantage of a pair of SAU errors in the frame to score an unearned run.

For the game, Mitchell scattered 10 hits in eight innings of work. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning and finished with six strikeouts. Southern Arkansas finished the game with nine runners left on base.

LaMunyon was 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI while Sloan drove in two runs after a 2-for-3 showing. Schmidt added three RBI to go along with his four hits.