May 24, 2009

Courtesy Lock Haven Sports

SALEM, Va. - It was back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning that set the tone for the No. 2 Lock Haven University softball team (49-6), as the Lady Eagles downed No. 1 North Georgia College (50-4) 8-0 in 4.5 innings at the 2009 NCAA Division Softball National Championships.

The win for LHU forces a decisive Game 2 between Lock Haven and North Georgia later this afternoon, to see who will advance to tomorrow's National Championship game.

Lock Haven got another solid outing from four-time All-American pitcher Kristin Erb (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township), who recorded the 99th shutout of her career. Yesterday Erb notched the 98th shutout of her career, breaking a 23 year old D-II record.

Erb found her grove early and retired the first 10 batters of the game, as she was perfect through 3 and 1/3 innings. She finished with six strikeouts and gave up just one hit.

Lock Haven's bats came alive early and often, as LHU scored its eight runs on six hits.

Ilia Lopez (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg) got things going for LHU in the bottom of the first as she drilled a home run over the right field fence. Lopez's blast put LHU up 2-0, as she drove in Erb, who had walked with one out.

Amanda Roosa (Pompton Lakes, N.J./Pompton Lakes) and Erica Eisenbise (Wernersville, Pa./Wilson) put LHU up 4-0 with solo shots of their own, as The Haven went back-to-back-to-back with the long ball.

LHU tacked on another four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, setting things up for the shortened game by way of the eight-run rule.

Lopez led the way at the plate with 2-for-2 outing.

Erb helped her own cause with a 2-for-2 batting performance. She drove in a pair in the bottom of the fourth.

Sarah Norris (West Chester, Pa./West Chester) was 1-for-3 and extends her hit streak to six games. Over four games in the tournament, she is 9-for-14 (.643) and is two hits away from tying at all-time D-II Finals Series record.

LHU and North Georgia meet again this afternoon at 4 p.m. in Salem, Va. with a spot in tomorrow's National Championship up for grabs.