By Matt Green
ROME – Union University used a three-run home run off the foul pole to fuel a win in Game 2 of its series with Shorter, earning a split with the host Lady Hawks and ending Shorter's winning streak at 17 games. The Lady Hawks won the opener 3-2 before falling to Union in the nightcap 3-2.
Shorter's streak, one of the longest in program history, spanned nearly a month and started way back on Feb. 17 with a win over No. 20-ranked Armstrong Atlantic. After Sunday's split, the Lady Hawks are 18-2 overall and 7-1 in the Gulf South Conference while Union leaves Rome with a 9-7 overall record and 4-6 mark in conference.
In Game 1, Bre Johnson homered as Shorter built a 3-0 lead then withstood a late Union rally in the seventh to claim a 3-2 win.
The Lady Hawks and Bulldogs were scoreless into the fifth until Shorter pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Johnson led off the sixth with her fourth home run of the season, a towering shot to right that put the Lady Hawks ahead 3-0.
Shorter starter Christina Ezell had cruised through the first six innings, but ran into trouble in the seventh as Union played long ball. The Bulldogs got two of their five hits in the seventh, both hits solo shots by Carter Mansolino and Stephanie Saunders, to pull within one run with two outs, but Ezell got Whitney Christian to pop out to first base to end the rally and the game.
Shorter also managed only five hits in the opener, with Morris collecting two in two at-bats. Ezell struck out four and walked none to pick up her seventh win of the season and stay unbeaten.
In the finale, Mansolino hit a three-run homer off the left field foul pole in the fourth to erase Shorter's 2-0 lead, and Shorter could not convert on bases loaded opportunities in the fifth and seventh as Union held on for the 3-2 win.
The Lady Hawks went ahead 2-0 in the third on Jackie Castaneda's RBI single and a Dailey fielder's choice that scored Morris.
A walk and a single put two runners with one out in the top of the fourth for Mansolino, who lined a pitch from Shorter starter Maddie Bray over the left field wall for a 3-2 Union lead.
Shorter threatened in both the fifth and seventh innings, loading the bases with one out in each frame, but Bulldogs' pitcher Kelly Robey worked out of trouble both times to preserve her team's lead.
Robey recorded a strikeout and ground out to end the fifth, then got a fly out to short left and another strikeout to close out the seventh and end the game. Shorter, which outhit Union 8-3 in Game 2, stranded 10 base runners.
Morris paced Shorter offensively in the nightcap, going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple. Castaneda also recorded two hits and Bray allowed just three hits over her seven innings in the loss.
The Lady Hawks are back in action on Wednesday, March 13 as they play host to former Southern States Athletic Conference rival and future GSC rival Lee University. First pitch in the doubleheader at Alto Park is set for 3 pm.