Kutztown breaks open scoreless game with five-run sixth to beat West Chester
KUTZTOWN, Pa. -- Kutztown scored five runs in the sixth inning of a scoreless opening game of the NCAA Atlantic Super Regional and went on to defeat West Chester 5-1 on Friday at North Campus Field.
With the win, the Golden Bears (33-21) stretched their season-best winning streak to nine games and need to win one of two games on Saturday, to earn their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Softball Championship. Game times are set for 1 p.m. ET and 3:30 p.m. ET (if necessary).
Kutztown loaded the bases in the sixth inning as Morgan Booth dropped a bunt single and West Chester hit two batters with one out. Junior Colleen Smith gave Kutztown a 2-0 lead with a two-run single to right-center field to score Booth and Jackie Hetzler.
Later that inning and with two outs, Nicole Henninger drove a three-run home run to left field to extend the lead to 5-0.
Due to the dominant performance of Kutztown pitcher Dominique Ficara, West Chester scored its only run of the game in the final inning. Dating through last weekend's regional games at Shippensburg, Ficara has tossed 22 shutout innings in three games and has only allowed two runs in the NCAA tournament. On Friday, she scattered nine hits in her team-leading 17th win this season and only needed 74 pitches to do it.
Booth, Henninger and Smith each had multi-hit games for the Golden Bears as Booth has notched two hits in three of Kutztown's five NCAA tournament games. The trio combined for six of KU's eight hits. Brianna Knipe reached base three times with three walks.
For West Chester, three players had multi-hit games led by Jessica Norris, who drove in West Chester's lone run in the seventh inning. Pitcher Devon Utterback threw 131 pitches as her four walks and four hit batters gave the Golden Bears the opportunity they needed to take the lead.
Utterback notched four strikeouts in the setback and became West Chester's all-time strikeout leader with 367.
Kutztown has taken five of six games from West Chester this season.
• Super Regional Results