LHU knocks off No.1 seed West Liberty

(LHU ATHLETICS) LHU’s Bekah Slattery throws a pitch in Thursday’s game versus West Liberty.

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Bekah Slattery (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone) scattered nine hits and struck out 14 over 15 total innings, and the Bald Eagles plated five runs in the top of the 15th inning, as the Lock Haven University softball team (32-17-1) opened the 2019 NCAA Tournament in thrilling fashion, knocking off No. 1 seed and host West Liberty (36-18), 7-2, in the opening game of the Atlantic Regional 1 bracket.

Slattery, the 2019 Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year, once again proved to be a difference maker. She threw over 260 pitches in 15 total innings of work. She allowed just two runs on nine hits and walked eight.

In all, Lock Haven’s seven runs came on 12 hits and the Bald Eagles forced West Liberty use of four pitchers in the 15-inning marathon.

The game lasted four hours and five minutes, and with the win, Lock Haven moves on in the winner’s bracket. The Bald Eagles will meet Shepherd, the No. 4 seed from the Atlantic Region, today (Friday, May 10) at 11 a.m. Shepherd downed No. 5 Concord, 10-2 (6 inn.). West Liberty and Concord will also play today in an elimination game.

Playing at West Liberty, the overall No. 1 seed from the Atlantic Region, the Bald Eagles jumped on the Hilltoppers early, thanks to Becca Caputo (Williamsport, Pa./Jersey Shore), who singled home a run in the top of the first.

Rachel Gricoski (Frackville, Pa./North Schuylkill) made it 2-0 in the top of the third when she singled down the left-field line and drove in a run.

In the bottom of the fourth, West Liberty finally got on the board (2-1) and the hosts eventually tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth.

After seven scoreless innings, the Bald Eagle pounced in the top of the 15th and broke open the extra-inning marathon. In all, Lock Haven scored five runs in the top of the 15th and Slattery shut the door in the bottom of half to secure the win.

It all started after the Bald Eagles loaded the bases with no outs and the rally went on from there.

It was only fitting that Slattery opened the 15th inning with a strikeout and finished the game with another for the third out of the inning, and final out of the game.

Amanda Criss (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air) led all players with three hits in the game. She was 3 for 7 with a run scored and a RBI.

Caputo, Slattery, Faith Ceely (Troy, Pa./Troy) and Madison Mathes (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) all had two-hit games.

Gricoski finished with two RBIs.

Thursday’s 2019 NCAA tournament-opening game marked LHU’s 14th all-time appearance in the national tournament. It’s also the Bald Eagles second straight NCAA championship appearance. All-time, Lock Haven is now 49-24 in the national championship tournament.

Lock Haven will be back in action today (Friday, May 10) at 11 a.m. when the Bald Eagles take on Shepherd.