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NCAA Div. II Championship: Lock Haven Wins NCAA Division II Championship

 SALEM, VA – Lock Haven University, led by all-everything pitcher Kristin Erb, hoisted the NCAA Division II Championship trophy on Monday afternoon at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va., with an 8-0 six-inning victory over Alabama-Huntsville. 

Lock Haven finishes the year with a 51-6 record, while Alabama-Huntsville finishes at 54-6. 

Lock Haven busted the game open in the top half of the fifth inning. Centerfielder Nancy O’Connor led off the inning with a single to left, followed by a bunt single from left fielder Julia Popovich. A fielders choice from Sarah Norris with the out on Popovich at second base gave The Haven runners at the corners with one out for Kristin Erb who roped a two-RBI double off the left field fence. 

Pinch runner Kirsten Labant replaced Erb at second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Ilia Lopez to give the Lady Eagles a 3-0 lead after four and a half innings of play. 

The Haven added five runs in the top of the sixth inning. Right fielder Erica Eisenbise led off the inning with a single, chasing UAH starting pitcher Whitney Hawkins. Relief pitcher Alex Lewis saw Amanda Gutmaker reach on a three-base error on a sacrifice attempt, plating Eisenbise for the fourth Lady Eagles run of the game. After Brittany Muthard singled to score Gutmaker, the Chargers went to the bullpen once again, bringing in All-American Sage Woodham. 

Woodham did not have any more luck than her teammates against the potent bats of the Lady Eagles. After O’Connor walked, Popovich reached on an error to load the bases. Sarah Norris, who set a new NCAA Championship record with her 12th hit of the week when she singled to lead off the game, reached on a fielders choice with the out at the plate, bringing Erb up once again. 

For the second consecutive at-bat, Erb helped her own cause. This time, it was a one-RBI single to left, plating O’Connor. Lopez followed with a two-RBI double to give Lock Haven its seventh and eighth runs of the game. 

With the eight runs scored in the game, Lock Haven tied another NCAA Championship record, scoring 32 runs through the week’s six games. 

Lock Haven senior Kristin Erb, a four-time first-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America selection, finished her stellar collegiate career with 100 career shutouts and a 168-18 career record. The 100 shutouts and 168 wins are both NCAA Division II career records. 

Erb allowed just one hit in the game, a second-inning single to Emily Roach. She finishes the season with a 50-5 record, having struck out nine without issuing a walk in the championship game. 

UAH starter Whitney Hawkins took the loss, pitching five innings. She falls to 21-1 on the season. 

Erb was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by pitcher Whitney Hawkins, catcher Kristina Prater, infielder Michelle Ingram, outfielder Emily Roach and designated player Whitney Schrimsher from Alabama-Huntsville; infielder Laura Voyles from North Georgia; Amanda Wilhelm from Winona State; Macy Baker from Angelo State and five members of Lock Haven’s championship team, Erb, Sarah Norris, Ilia Lopez, Julia Popovich and Erica Eisenbise.