One swing and a dominant pitching performance brought LIU Post’s season to a close on Friday.
Lydia Goble hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning and Allison Lipovsky struck out 12 in a two-hitter as top-seeded Post fell to No. 5 Grand Valley State, 2-0, in an elimination game of the NCAA Division II softball championship at Metropolitan State University in Denver.
The loss also marked the final Division II softball game for the Pioneers. Post and LIU Brooklyn will unify as a Division I program this fall.
The Pioneers attempted to rally in the bottom of the seventh as first baseman Hanna Finkelstein led off with a double to leftfield. Designated player Ashley Melendez then struck out swinging on three pitches, centerfielder Abbey Fortin grounded out to first on a check swing and third baseman Breanna Klaiber flew out to right for the final out.
Katie Humhej, who entered the matchup at 26-6 with a 2.06 ERA, struck out four, allowed 10 hits and walked one in her complete-game effort for Post (51-13).
Humhej worked out of bases-loaded jams in both the second and fourth to keep the Pioneers within striking distance. She also stranded runners on second and third in the seventh after surrendering back-to-back, two-out hits by forcing a groundout to short.
Despite Humhej making just one mistake early on, it proved to be the difference as Lipovsky outdueled her throughout.
Lipovsky began the night with a 31-3 record and the second-lowest ERA in the country (0.88). She overpowered the Pioneers with her 20th double-digit strikeout performance of the year and allowed only three baserunners. It was also the 23rd shutout of the year for Grand Valley State (50-9) — the second-most in the nation.
Post concluded the season with a program record 51 wins.