Pitcher Shavaun Fisher (Coplay, Allentown Central Catholic) threw a seven-hit shutout and Emily Young (Nescopeck, Central Columbia) drove in two first-inning runs to help Bloomsburg University to a 7-0 win over California, Pa. University in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Super Regional championships. Bloomsburg won the best of three series two games to none and now advances to next week’s national championship round in St. Joseph, Missouri, May 27-31.
Bloomsburg will be making its 11th trip to the NCAA championship round under legendary coach Jan Hutchinson. Hutchinson, in her 33rd and final season, is the all-time leader in career coaching wins in Division II history with 1,214, She is attempting to go out with the rarest of rarest feats in coaching, winning national championships in two sports in the same season.
Hutchinson, who also coached field hockey at Bloomsburg, won the 2009 NCAA Division II title in the fall and is looking to complete the double-double this spring. Hutchinson previously won both title in the same season in the 1981-82 school year. She won the AIAW Division III field hockey title in fall of 1981 and the AIAW Division III softball title in the spring of1982 prior to the NCAA taking over the governance of women’s sports.
In the series clinching win the Huskies, who were the visiting team in the game, jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. Nikki Shiko (Shamokin, Southern Columbia) led off the game with a single on the first pitch and stole second. With one out, Lacy Mauro (Jersey Shore, Jersey Shore) walked and Sam Pientack (Archbald, Valley View) singled to load the bases. California then made a pitching change brining in Maria Greco. Young greeted Greco with a long double that just missed going out bringing home two runs for a 3-0 lead.
Cal threatened in the bottom of the first inning loading the bases with two outs, but Fisher got a pop up to end the inning keeping the Vulcans off the board. Greco then retired the next 11 batters in a row for the Vulcans keeping it a 3-0 game. The Vulcans also kept the pressure on Fisher and the Huskies leaving two more runners on base in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings. Fisher was helped out though by some great defense, including two sliding catches by left fielder Lori Neyhard (Bloomsburg, Central Columbia).
Bloomsburg finally broke the game open with five runs in the top of the sixth inning. Pientack hit a blooper to short left field and hustled the play into a double. After Fisher grounded out to shortstop, Young was hit by a pitch putting runners at first and second. Mandy Koch then doubled scoring pinch-runner Raychelle Kuhns (Williamsport, Loyalsock) and Pientack. Casey Massimini (Downingtown, Downingtown West) then singled putting runners on the corners. Neyhard then singled home Koch with Shiko following with an RBI single making it 7-0.
Cal put two runners on in the sixth, but did not score and Fisher allowed a two-out walk in the seventh, but got a fly ball to end the game and set up the celebration for the Huskies.
Bloomsburg improves to 49-6 on the season, while California ends its season at 37-14.
Photos Courtesy BU Sports Information