Knight picks up 1,000th coaching victory at SU as Sea Gulls sweep Eastern Mennonite in season opener
SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team opened up its season at home with a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Mennonite University. Senior shortstop Hannah Mills hit her first home run of the 2013 season in a 6-0 victory before junior Kathryn Larson picked up a win in the circle as the Sea Gulls won 10-2 in five innings. With the first win of the day Head Coach Margie Knight recorded her 1,000th victory at Salisbury University, coaching both softball and volleyball.
In game one, the Sea Gulls earned four runs, off five hits, in the bottom of the third to break open a scoreless game. Senior catcher Michelle Gravdahl hit a double to shallow center field to score classmate Sarah Alpaugh and junior Angelia McDowell. Mills stepped into the box and with an 0-and-2 count sent a two-run shot over the left field fence for the 4-0 advantage.
Salisbury (2-0) would strike again in the bottom of the fourth as senior second baseman Carly Read's perfect sacrifice bunt advanced junior Molly Gigioli to third base, from first, and was then sent home after classmate Harley Hill singled into left center field. Gravdahl would bring home SU's final run of the game scoring off a wild pitch.
In the top of the sixth inning, Eastern Mennonite had their best scoring opportunity with bases loaded and no outs. The Sea Gull defense remained strong as sophomore hurler Rachel Johnson struck out Molly Smith and was supported by the defense as Hill caught a foul ball before Johnson and Gravdahl connected for the third out at home plate.
Johnson earned the win in the circle, going the distance with 14 strikeouts, which ties a career high. Johnson allowed three hits while walking two Royals.
Eastern Mennonite (0-2) scored the first run of the second contest as Courtney Allman crossed home due to a Sea Gull error, but SU came back firing in the bottom half of the second inning. Freshman third baseman Katie Sebbane led off the inning with a single up the middle. Sebbane went 5-for-6 for the day with two RBIs.
Senior outfielder Lindsay McCabe followed with a single, which put two runners on, before freshman Paige Knussman sent a hard shot to left field to plate both runners. Knussman went 2-for-2 with two RBIs in the second contest.
With a 2-1 edge, and just one out, SU's bats came alive batting around the lineup scoring seven runs off four hits and taking advantage of four Royal errors.
Larson pitched all five innings in game two, earning the win, striking out five batters while allowing two runs off four hits.
SU would end the game in the bottom of the fifth, with one out and bases loaded, as McCabe's single down the left field line scored sophomore Angela Malgieri to go up by eight runs against Eastern Mennonite, 10-2. McCabe went 2-for-4 in the second contest of the day with one RBI and one run scored.
Gravdahl ended the afternoon going 2-for-6 at the plate with two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks.
Salisbury returns to action on Friday, March 1, at the Virginia Wesleyan Beach Blast Tournament. The Sea Gulls will take the field against Randolph-Macon College for their first of four games in the two-day tournament. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.