Last Updated: Sun May 22, 2022 - 4:18AM
KUTZTOWN - For the first time in program history, Seton Hill University will compete in the NCAA Division II Softball Championships.
The Griffins punched their ticket on Saturday, topping PSAC champion Kutztown 9-5 in game two of the best-of-three Atlantic Super Regional series. Seton Hill shut out the Golden Bears 7-0 in game one on Thursday.
Game two actually began on Friday but was halted in the bottom of the third inning due to rain. It was then resumed on Saturday.
Seton Hill got off to a terrific start in the deciding game as it scored four times in the first inning. Morgan Ryan drove in Nichole McClendon to draw first blood then Brooklyn Fukushima and Grace Paredes followed with RBI doubles to make it 3-0. Nina Grandey brought in Paredes on an error to swell the advantage to 4-0.
Kutztown battled back, trimming the SHU lead to 4-3 thanks to a run in the second inning plus two more crossing the plate in the third.
The score remained until the fifth inning as Paredes collected her second double of the game, this time driving in two runs and giving Seton Hill a 6-3 advantage. The Griffins added three more tallies in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Morgan Toal, and SHU was ahead 9-3.
Kutztown had one last gasp in the seventh as Jenna Lipowski hit a two-run homer to make it 9-5. The Golden Bears got consecutive singles to keep the game alive but Seton Hill pitcher Morgan Ryan induced a groundball hit by Kristin Geesey to Fukushima at second for the final out of the game.
Paredes finished with three hits, three RBIs and a run scored. Toal and Fukushima each collected two hits and Fukushima scored twice. McClendon and Jenna Osikowicz each crossed the plate two times.
Ryan got the win in the circle, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings of relief. She tossed a complete game shutout in game one on Thursday. Chloe Elliott and Lauren Dellett also saw time inside the circle.
Seton Hill advances to the NCAA Division II Softball Championships in Denver, Colorado next week. The Griffins will be the No. 6 seed in the eight-team bracket and will play No. 3 Auburn University Montgomery on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern start time.
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