Lynn 5, Kennesaw State 3

May 23, 2005

SALEM, VA Lynn University used three home runs and another strong outing from ace Aimee Murch to down Kennesaw State University 5-3 and claim its first NCAA Division II National Softball Championship on Monday in Salem, Virginia, at the James I Moyer Sports Complex.

What can I tell you, said Lynn head coach Thomas Macera. We played well and had some luck. It came down to great pitching by Aimee, good defense, and home run hitting.

First Team All-American Aimee Murch (39-3) earned the victory to improve to 4-0 in the tournament. She went the distance allowing three runs on five hits while striking out 11 to lead the Fighting Knights to victory.

Murch also was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player. For the championship, Murch fanned 47 hitters and compiled a 0.98 earned run average in four complete game victories.

Ive never really won anything, mentioned Murch. Its great!

Lynn s Danielle Curcio started the action from the get-go, jumping on the first pitch from Kennesaw State starter Brittany Matthews and singling to left field to start the game. Jennie Scott followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Curcio up into scoring position. Matthews took control thereafter, fanning Christina Rolla and getting Tiffani King to fly lazily to right to end the threat.

The Fighting Knights took advantage of an error that extended the second inning. Alex Acosta led off the frame reaching on an error by the shortstop. Two outs later, when the inning should have been over, Rachel Foster made the score 2-0 with her sixth home run of the season to left-center.

I said in my head that its my turn, explained Foster.

Murch kept KSUs offense off-balance, striking out the first seven batters of the ballgame and not allowing a base runner until Courtney Matiak reached on a bunt single in the third.

The Owls put a chink in Murchs armor in the bottom of the fourth, registering the first run of the tournament against Lynn s top arm. Lori Cassell motored home from second when Jennifer Nolan lined her team-high fifth triple of the season to center to cut the lead in half to 2-1 .

Lynn flexed its muscle in the top of the sixth with back-to-back solo shots from Rolla and King to increase the lead to 4-1 and chase Matthews from the game. Rollas homer marked the 25th of the season for the Fighting Knight first baseman, the second-highest total in NCAA Division II softball history. Kings 13th round-tripper on the year pushed Lynn s team total to 88, the second-best team fixture in NCAA Division II history.

Coach taught us how to hit better, said King. He taught us how to be more selective. I went up there thinking I was going to hit the first good pitch I saw.

KSU stormed back in the bottom of the frame, cutting the lead back down to one thanks to Keri McKees two-run blast to center, her 14th home run on the campaign. The two runs batted in increased her RBI total to 81, further strengthening her grasp on the Kennesaw State University school and Peach Belt Conference single-season records.

Lynn extended its margin to 5-3 in the top of the seventh via an error on Scotts single to center. Reliever Lisa Lamb worked out of a bases loaded one-out jam to end the threat.

Murch tightened her grip in the bottom of the frame, setting down KSU in order for Lynn s first Division II National Softball Championship and a successful inaugural trip the national tournament.

Congratulations to Lynn , explained Kennesaw State head coach Scott Whitlock. We played as hard as we could. We were prepared and were emotionally ready. Shes {Murch} good, real good. Three runs is a lot of runs off a pitcher like her.

Lynn s victory marked the first national title from Sunshine State Conference since Florida Southern College turned the trick in 1993.

I cant tell you how proud I am, I could put into words how I feel, said Coach Macera. Im not easy to play for. I expect to be the best. I thank my team for working hard for me. I asked a lot of them.

 

Box score (NCAA)
                            The Automated ScoreBook
                             Lynn vs Kennesaw State
               May 23, 2005 at Salem, Va. (Moyer Sports Complex)

Lynn 5 (54-7)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Danielle Curcio cf.......  3  0  2  0   1  1  1  0   0
Jennie Scott rf..........  3  0  1  0   0  0  0  0   1
Christina Rolla 1b.......  3  1  1  1   1  1  4  0   0
Tiffani King 3b..........  4  1  2  1   0  0  0  1   1
Alex Acosta ss...........  4  1  1  0   0  1  1  2   3
Jenna Piotrowski dp......  2  0  0  0   0  2  0  0   0
 Candace VanderVeen ph...  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
Kristina Ely 2b..........  3  0  0  0   0  0  3  0   1
Rachel Foster lf.........  3  2  2  2   0  0  1  0   0
Danielle Fanucchi c......  2  0  0  0   0  0 11  0   0
 Sam  Wilkinson ph.......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Aimee Murch p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
Totals................... 28  5  9  4   2  6 21  4   6

Kennesaw State 3 (57-13)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Jen Hunt lf..............  3  1  1  0   0  1  0  0   1
Lori Cassell 2b..........  3  1  1  0   0  2  4  0   0
Keri McKee 1b............  3  1  1  2   0  2  5  1   0
Cambria McKay c..........  3  0  0  0   0  1  7  0   0
Jennifer Nolan ss........  3  0  1  1   0  1  1  2   0
Kelley Cowart cf.........  3  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   1
Chelce Culberson dp......  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
 Amy Middleton ph/dp.....  2  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
Kate Winstel rf..........  3  0  0  0   0  0  2  0   0
Courtney Matiak 3b.......  2  0  1  0   0  1  2  3   0
Brittany Matthews p......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 Lisa Lamb p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 26  3  5  3   0 11 21  7   2

Score by Innings                  R  H  E
-----------------------------------------
Lynn................ 020 002 1 -  5  9  1
Kennesaw State...... 000 102 0 -  3  5  2
-----------------------------------------

E - King(12); Nolan(14); Cowart(5). DP - Kennesaw St. 1. LOB - Lynn 6;
Kennesaw St. 2. 3B - Nolan(5). HR - Rolla(25); King(13); Foster(6);
McKee(14). SH - Scott(14); Wilkinson(1). SB - Cassell(17).

Lynn                   IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF  NP
--------------------------------------------------
Aimee Murch.........  7.0  5  3  3  0 11 26 26  97

Kennesaw State         IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF  NP
--------------------------------------------------
Brittany Matthews...  5.0  6  4  2  0  5 21 22  89
Lisa Lamb...........  2.0  3  1  1  2  1  7 10  32

Win - Murch (39-3).  Loss - Matthews (29-5).  Save - None.
WP - Matthews(8). Inherited runners/scored: None. Pitches/strikes: Murch 97/75;
Matthews 89/59; Lamb 32/17.
Umpires - HP: Patti Gunst  1B: Greg Schmidt  3B: Bill Masters
Start: 11:00 am   Time: 1:59   Attendance: 670
Game notes:
Lynn wins first national softball championship..
Championship is first for the Sunshine State Conference since Florida
Southern won the title in 1993.
Matthews faced 2 batters in the 6th.
Game: GAME14


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Play-by-Play
                            The Automated ScoreBook
                     Lynn vs Kennesaw State - Play-by-Play
               May 23, 2005 at Salem, Va. (Moyer Sports Complex)


Score by Innings                  R  H  E
-----------------------------------------
Lynn................ 020 002 1 -  5  9  1
Kennesaw State...... 000 102 0 -  3  5  2
-----------------------------------------

Lynn starters: 4/cf Curcio; 21/rf Scott; 12/1b Rolla; 19/3b King; 3/ss Acosta; 22/dp
Piotrowski; 10/2b Ely; 24/lf Foster; 25/c Fanucchi; 11/p Murch;
Kennesaw State starters: 12/lf Hunt; 9/2b Cassell; 30/1b McKee; 15/c McKay; 13/ss
Nolan; 23/cf Cowart; 37/dp Culberson; 8/rf Winstel; 3/3b Matiak; 0/p Matthews;

Lynn 1st - Curcio singled to left field (0-0). Scott out at first 1b to 2b,
SAC, bunt (1-2); Curcio advanced to second. Rolla struck out (3-2). King flied out
to rf (3-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Kennesaw State 1st - Hunt struck out (0-2). Cassell struck out (1-2). McKee
struck out (0-2). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

Lynn 2nd - Acosta reached on a fielding error by ss (2-2). Piotrowski struck
out (1-2). Ely popped up to ss (0-0). Foster homered to left center, 2 RBI, unearned
(2-2); Acosta scored, unearned. Fanucchi grounded out to p (0-1). 2 runs, 1 hit,
1 error, 0 LOB.

Kennesaw State 2nd - McKay struck out (0-2). Nolan struck out (2-2). Cowart
struck out (1-2). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

Lynn 3rd - Curcio struck out (3-2). Scott fouled out to 3b (2-2). Rolla
grounded out to ss (2-2). 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

Kennesaw State 3rd - Culberson struck out (0-2). Winstel popped up to 2b
(0-2). Matiak singled, bunt (0-0). Hunt popped up to ss (0-2). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0
errors, 1 LOB.

Lynn 4th - King singled to center field (1-1). Acosta struck out (3-2).
Piotrowski struck out (2-2); King advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ely popped up
to 2b (0-0). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Kennesaw State 4th - Cassell singled to third base (0-1). McKee struck out
(2-2). Cassell stole second. McKay flied out to lf (1-2). Nolan tripled to right
center, RBI (2-2); Cassell scored. Cowart flied out to cf (0-1). 1 run, 2 hits, 0
errors, 1 LOB.

Lynn 5th - Foster popped up to 1b (0-1). Fanucchi grounded out to ss (1-2).
Curcio singled down the lf line (1-2). Scott flied out to rf (1-1). 0 runs, 1
hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Kennesaw State 5th - Middleton pinch hit for Culberson. Middleton grounded
out to 3b (3-2). Winstel grounded out to ss (0-0). Matiak struck out (2-2). 0
runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

Lynn 6th - Rolla homered to center field, RBI (0-0). King homered to right
center, RBI (2-1). Lamb to p for Matthews. Acosta singled to right field (0-0).
VanderVeen pinch hit for Piotrowski. VanderVeen struck out (2-2). Ely lined into
double play 3b to 1b (0-0); Acosta out on the play. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 0
LOB.

Kennesaw State 6th - Hunt singled, bunt, advanced to second on a throwing
error by 3b (0-0). Cassell struck out (0-2). McKee homered to center field, 2 RBI
(2-2); Hunt scored. McKay grounded out to ss (0-0). Nolan popped up to 2b (1-0).
2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 0 LOB.

Lynn 7th - Foster singled to third base (0-0). Wilkinson pinch hit for
Fanucchi. Wilkinson out at first 3b to 2b, SAC, bunt (0-1); Foster advanced to
second. Curcio walked (3-2). Scott singled up the middle, advanced to second on a
fielding error by cf (3-2); Curcio advanced to third; Foster scored. Rolla
intentionally walked (3-0). King reached on a fielder's choice (1-1); Rolla advanced
to second; Scott advanced to third; Curcio out at home 3b to c. Acosta reached on a
fielder's choice (1-1); King out at second 2b unassisted. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error,
3 LOB.

Kennesaw State 7th - Fanucchi to c for Wilkinson. Middleton to dp. Cowart
popped up to 2b (1-1). Middleton struck out (1-2). Winstel grounded out to p (3-2).
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.