Kutztown tops Winston Salem
Golden Bears dart in front early with three-run first inning
WEST LAWN, Pa. -- Kutztown used a strong pitching effort by Kyle Stoudt and a three-run home run by Travis Kreitz to advance to the championship day of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional..
Making just his fifth start of the season on the mound, Stoudt went six strong innings for KU. He allowed two runs and struck out six, scattering eight hits and three walks.
The lead came by way of a three-run first inning as KU jumped on the Rams' Justin Herbert, who entered the game with a 2.18 earned run average. Cody Montz walked to lead off the game and Brett Hauck was hit by a pitch to put two on with no outs. Shayne Houck followed and hit a double that landed on the warning track in in dead center field, scoring Montz.
Kreitz, who moved into the cleanup spot for Saturday's game after batting ninth the first two days of the tournament, executed a squeeze play as Hauck scored the Golden Bears' second run of the game. Sean McCormick capped the scoring in the inning with an RBI groundout to bring in Houck.
The first three batters reached base in the bottom half of the inning, with German Reyes cutting Kutztown's lead to one with a two-run single.
In the third inning, Winston Salem threatened again, loading the bases with two outs, but Stoudt forced Andrew Smith to hit a grounder deep into the hole at shortstop, but Montz was there to make the play, forcing the runner out at second.
The Rams kept the pressure on and had two runners on with one out in the fourth, but catcher Todd Rubendall fired to second to pick off Travis Moore for the second out before Stoudt got Brandon Harrison to pop up to end the threat.
KU stretched its lead in the sixth with Kreitz's second homer of the weekend. Montz started the rally with a bunt single and moved to second when the throw to first got away. After Houck walked with one out, Kreitz worked the count full before taking an offering from Herbert over the fence in right for a 6-2 lead.
The Golden Bears added another run in the seventh inning when Hauck knocked in Rubendall with an RBI single through the right side of the infield to make it 7-2.
Winston Salem, however, began to chip away at the lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Devin McLemore stroked a sacrifice fly to make it 7-3. Then in the ninth, run-scoring singles by Dominique Fitzgerald and Andrew Smith made it a two-run game.
With the potential winning run at the plate, the Golden Bears responded by bringing in Jason Henderson, who locked down the game's final out for his seventh save of the year.
Montz and Corey Buletza each tallied two hits for Kutztown. Houck matched Montz with a team-high two runs scored.
Moore paced the Rams with three hits.