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NCAA Div. II Championship: Alabama-Huntsville Tops Lock Haven, 3-1

 SALEM, VA – A two-run home run from junior designated player Whitney Hawkins provided all the offense that Alabama-Huntsville needed to defeat Lock Haven by a 3-1 margin on Friday afternoon at the James I. Moyer Complex. 

With the victory, Alabama-Huntsville (53-5) advances to Sunday’s semifinals. Lock Haven (47-6) falls to the losers bracket and will face the Indianapolis-Dixie State winner at approximately 4 pm on Saturday. 

The sixth game of the tournament was scoreless for the first three innings as Alabama Huntsville's Whitney Hawkins and Lock Haven's Kristin Erb put zeroes on the scoreboard. UAH had two runners reach base without a hit in the top of the first but could not score. Lock Haven also threatened in the first. Sarah Norris singled to lead off the inning and made it to third base before being stranded after a flyout ended the inning. 

Hawkins decided to end the scoreless streak herself in the top of the fourth. After the first two batters of the inning struck out, Whitney Schrimsher singled to bring Hawkins to the plate. Hawkins homered to deep left center field to give Alabama Huntsville a 2-0 lead. 

After posting a zero on the scoreboard for UAH in the top of the fifth, Lock Haven cut the UAH lead in half with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Nancy O'Connor led off the inning with a single. Julia Popovich sacrificed O'Connor to second. O'Connor then moved to third on a groundout by Sarah Norris. Kristin Erb walked before Ilia Lopez singled to cut the lead to 2-1. Hawkins got a pop up to short to end the Lock Haven threat. 

Alabama Huntsville got the run right back in the top of the sixth. Beth Lawson led off with a single. Sam Deep pinch ran for Lawson. After a strikeout and a ground out, Whitney Schrimsher doubled to the right center field gap to score Deep and extend the lead to back to two at 3-1. 

Lock Haven got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, but UAH's closer Alex Lewis recorded the final out of the game. 

Whitney Hawkins improved to 20-0 on the season. She went 6 2/3 innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits. She struck out 6 and walked 1. Lewis recorded her 18th save of the season. Kristin Erb suffered her fifth loss of the season, falling to 46-5 on the season. She gave up 3 earned runs, 6 hits and struck out 10 while walking 2.