READING, Pa. – Kristen Kargol (Saegertown, PA/Cambridge Springs) hit a three-run homer in the second inning to lift No. 4 Penn State Behrend past No. 5 Alvernia in the first round of the 2018 Division III Softball Championships on Wednesday afternoon.
Kargol smacked her team-leading fifth home run of the season to score three runs to get the Lions (31-12) past the Crusaders (23-14-1) and earn the right to host the championship weekend at Behrend.
AJ Nichols (Pittsburgh, PA/Shaler) started in the circle and only gave up four hits and two earned runs for her 18th win of the season. Carson Hauser (Westfield, NY/Westfield Academy) went 2-for-3 in the game as the lead-off batter.
Alvernia scored the first run in the second inning on an error with two runners on and a single by Mckenzie Miessau to make it 1-0. In the bottom of the frame, Alexa Bupp (Warren, PA/Warren) walked and then Jillian Williams (Corry, PA/Corry) singled up the middle to put runners on the corners. Kargol ripped one over the fence on the next at-bat with one out for a 3-1 lead.
Kargol's home run proved to be the game-winning RBI after Alvernia only added one more run in the third on a double by Riley Shields to score Morgan Psiuk, who got on base with a single.
Shields also pitched for the Crusaders, only giving up three more hits after Kargols home run while striking out three.
The Lions will face the No. 1 seed Pfeiffer in game one of the semifinals on Saturday. Game time to be determined.