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Easley's Walk-Off Lifts Angelo Past Bloomsburg at DII Championships

 Game 9 
No. 19 Angelo State 5, No. 6 Bloomsburg 4 (8 innings) | Box Score 


ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Freshman Kacie Easley of No. 19 Angelo State blasted a home run over the left center field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning at the 2010 NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday to send her team to Sunday's semi-finals with a 5-4 win over No. 6 Bloomsburg at Heritage Park in St. Joseph. 

The Huskies (50-8) were first to score in the contest when sophomore Sam Pientack homered to left field to begin the fourth inning. The Huskies followed Pientack's homer with another run in the fifth off of a single from catcher Lacy Mauro that drove in senior Nikki Shiko. 

However in the bottom of the fifth, Angelo State (50-14) exploded for four runs off of five hits to give the Rambelles a two-run lead. All five of Angelo State's hits in the inning came by way of singles and were helped out in the frame by two walks and an error from Bloomsburg. 

In the top of the sixth, Pientack once again led off with a home run to pull her team within one, at 4-3. Later in the inning, Bloomsburg got the equalizer it was searching for when pitcher Shavaun Fisher helped her own cause by doubling down the left field line to score freshman Sinea Gallagher. 

Neither team was able to score in the seventh and Bloomsburg went down in order to start the eighth, leaving the door open for Easley and the Rambelles. 

Earning the win in the circle for Angelo was senior Chelsea Nelson, who entered the game in the sixth and allowed two runs off of four hits with two strikeouts to improve to 29-9. 

Fisher took the loss for the Huskies after allowing five runs off of 10 hits with six strikeouts. For the year, Fisher went 35-7 with a 1.29 ERA. 

The game not only marked the end of Bloomsburg's season, but it also marked the end of a career for head coach and NFCA Hall of Famer Jan Hutchinson. 

"When we compete I don't think about [me]," said Hutchinson. "I just always want these kids to win and we do our best to try and get there. I didn't want it to be about me [today] - I never wanted them to feel pressure because of me. But it was very nice, the gestures made by the opposing coaches and teams. It means a lot to me." 

Hutchinson will end her career after 33 years, 1,215 wins, an AIAW National Championship and two NCAA Division II second-place finishes. She is currently the winningest coach in NCAA Division II Softball and the winningest coach in all of NCAA Field Hockey, a sport in which she won a National Championship earlier this season. 

Angelo State now advances to the first of two semi-finals on Sunday where they will take on No. 2 Valdosta State at 12 p.m. CDT. Should Angelo win the first game, the same two teams would return to action at 5 p.m. CDT.