SALEM, Va. -- Armstrong Atlantic State University, ranked 19th nationally, hit a pair of home runs and turned three double plays in picking up a 5-1 win against West Chester University on the first day of the 2014 NCAA Division II Softball Championships.

West Chester got on the board first with a solo home run by Erin Quense in the top of the third inning, but the Pirates quickly answered with a run in the bottom of the third when Hannah Reppert drew a bases-loaded walk.

DII SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Championship Game Highlights  Photo Gallery
Hemphill: W. Texas A&M finds gem with Hokianga
Hemphill: Gehle comes through for W. Texas A&M
Game 13: West Texas A&M wins national title
Day 4 Highlights
Hemphill: Blaskowski brings W. Texas A&M to title brink
Hemphill: Pitchers face tough call vs. Valdosta St.
Game 12: Valdosta State makes return trip to title game
Game 11: Two in the fifth lifts West Texas A&M
Hemphill: Weathering the Savage Storm
Hemphill: Dixie State rallies after winning streak ends
Day 3 Highlights
Game 10: Southeastern Okla. keeps postseason alive
Game 9: Dixie State victorious in must-win
Game 8: Southeast Okla. staves off elimination
Game 7: West Chester eliminates LIU Post
Day 2 Highlights
Hemphill: Valdosta State gets rewarded with rest
Hemphill: WTAMU's Erwin constantly improves
Game 6: Valdosta State run-rules Dixie State
Game 5: West Texas A&M rallies past Armstrong Atl.
Day 1 Highlights
Game 4: Dixie State holds off Southeastern Oklahoma
Game 3: Valdosta State edges Wayne State 
Hemphill: Blazers have experienced it all 
Hemphill: Armstrong Atlantic's long and winding road
Game 2: West Texas A&M powers past LIU Post
Game 1: Armstrong Atlantic defeats West Chester
Hemphill: Dixie State rides win streak entering champ.
How they got here: Super Regional Results
Brackets: Interactive Printable
Armstrong took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on solo home runs by Haley Ellis and Alexis Mercer. Mercer's home run was the 23rd of the season, setting a new single-season Peach Belt Conference mark.

The Pirates protected their lead by turning double plays in the fourth and fifth innings -- the fifth-inning twin killing helping Armstrong get out of a two-on, no-out jam.

"We were very solid defensively today. We had a couple of jams that we got into, and those [double plays] got us out of it," said Armstrong head coach Ted Evans. "The left side of our infield is so good, and between Kacie and Alexis, you're gonna get those plays. They just make it look routine."

An RBI double by Reppert tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, then Mercer delivered an RBI single in the sixth to make the score 5-1.

With a runner on and one out in the top of the seventh inning, the Rams' Jillian Murray hit a line drive to shortstop, which Mercer caught and then threw on to first to double off the runner for the game-ending third double play of the contest.

Ollivia McLemore (25-6) limited West Chester to just three hits and one run to win her eighth game out of her last nine decisions. Kim Murl (23-11) took the loss for the Rams, giving up 10 hits and five runs -- three earned -- while walking one.

Mercer went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI to lead the Pirates at the plate, while Lacye Walker had two hits and Reppert drove in a pair of runs. 

"Last year, we played well after the first game -- until we played the same team again," said Evans. "Just getting off to a good start gets you on track and makes you feel good about yourself. We feel like we've got a chance to do something this year."