Kennesaw State Captures NISC Region Championship in Comeback Fashion

ATLANTA – Kira Czyrklis singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning and Alley Cutting pitched a perfect bottom half of the inning to lead Kennesaw State to a 3-2 victory over Georgia State in the National Invitational Softball Region 5 Championship title game Thursday afternoon at Bob Heck Field in Atlanta.
 
The win moves the Owls (39-18) into the championship round at a to-be-determined time and location that beginning Sunday (May 21).
 
"This was another hard-fought game against a very good team we've seen four times," head coach Pete D'Amour said. "In the postseason, if you limit your walks and play good defense, you have a chance to be in every game. We did that all tournament."
 
For the third straight game, Kennesaw State came from behind to post a victory. Kennesaw State fell behind in the bottom of the first inning after Georgia State's Megan Litumbe hit a two-run home run over the right-center field fence for an early lead.
 
The Owls scored in the top of the second to cut the Panthers (36-25) lead in half after Hannah Thomason singled up the middle to score Chandler Griffin who reached base on an infield hit earlier in the frame.
 
Noelle Winkles, who had two hits, tied the game, 2-2, in the top of the fourth with an opposite field home run to left field.
 
After allowing the first-inning home run, Logan Viers limited Georgia State from further scoring as she worked 5 1/3 innings, allowed six hits, two runs, walked one and struck out two. The Owls' senior received relief help from Cutting (19-10), who entered the game with two on and one out in the sixth and retired the next two batters.
 
That set the stage for the top of the seventh when Olivia Tamewitz doubled to left field with two outs and scored on Czyrklis' hard hit single past Georgia State first baseman Kristin Hawkins.
 
"Logan gave us another good outing and Alley did her thing. The encouraging thing for the coaching staff is the players seemed to be comfortable at the end of the game in a tight situation," D'Amour said. "We didn't see that earlier this year. This was a big step for us as a program."

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