BIRMINGHAM – Megan Garst pitched a complete-game shutout and Hannah Shollenberger went 2-for-2 with the game's lone RBI as the University of North Alabama softball team opened the 2019 season and its Division I era with a 1-0 victory at UAB on Thursday.
Garst (1-0), a junior from Columbiana, scattered four hits over seven innings of work and added five strikeouts on the night.
The Lions scored the game's only run in the top of the fifth inning. Shollenberger, a junior from Florence, came through with the two-out single to right center to score Meleah Hargett from second base. Hargett singled to reach base before stealing second.
The Blazers had the tying run at third base in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings with Garst pitching out of trouble each time.
In the top of the seventh, UNA loaded the bases with one out but couldn't score. After infield singles by Lexie Harper and Alex Brown, Shollenberger was hit by a pitch. UAB relief pitcher Bailie Barnes, however, got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
North Alabama had at least one base runner in every inning and finished the game with seven hits. Harper also went 2-for-4 on the night.
Four different UAB players had one hit each. Emily Kachel (0-1) took the pitching loss for the Blazers.
UNA will travel to Alcorn State for a three-game series beginning Friday. The Lions and Braves will play a single game at 2 p.m., followed by a double-header at 11 a.m. the following day.