VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Head Coach Margie Knight earned her 600th career victory coaching the Salisbury University softball team as the Sea Gulls blanked Methodist University, 5-0, on Saturday afternoon in the final day of the Virginia Wesleyan Beach Blast. Earlier in the day Salisbury defeated Neumann University, 6-3, as a three-run third inning gave the Sea Gulls the go-ahead run off the bat of senior second baseman Carly Read.
Salisbury (6-0) would quickly go up by one in the first game of the day against Neumann as freshman third baseman Katie Sebbane's single to the gap in right field plated senior outfielder Sarah Alpaugh in the second inning. Sebbane ended the day going 4-for-7 at the plate with three RBIs; the freshman wrapped up the event with a .500 batting average with four RBIs and one run scored.
A three-run inning in the bottom of the third would prove to be the deciding factor as seniors Michelle Gravdahl and Hannah Mills each led the inning off with walks, allowing Sebbane to knock home Gravdahl before Read brought in Mills and pinch runner Alexis Peay for the game-winning run. Read led the Gulls for the weekend with a .667 batting average, going 4-for-6 with four runs scored, three RBIs and three walks.
Neumann would score three runs in the top of the seventh inning but the Sea Gulls held on as junior hurler Kathryn Larson collected her third win going the distance for the Gulls, striking out eight Knights while allowing three runs off eight hits.
In the second contest of the day, Salisbury and Methodist would remain even as the pitching staffs for both teams kept the game scoreless until the top of the fifth inning.
Read started the inning being hit by a pitch and was advanced to second when junior outfielder Angelia McDowell laid down a sacrifice bunt. Read moved to third as junior first baseman Harley Hill grounded out to third base. With two out, Alpaugh sent a shot through the left side for the game-winning run scoring Read. The Sea Gulls would take advantage of a Monarch error, scoring two additional runs in the inning off the bats of Mills and Sebbane, for the 3-0 lead.
Methodist would have its best chance to get on the board placing a runner on second after a Sea Gull error and sacrifice bunt by Sarah Stapleton. A hard hit ball by Jordan Adams looked as though it would get through the left side but a diving play by Mills ended the scoring threat, making the flip to Read for the putout.
Salisbury would score once more in the top of the sixth inning and again in the seventh as Gravdahl led off the inning with a solo home run to left field, her first of the season.
Sophomore Rachel Johnson went all seven innings for the maroon and gold with her third double-digit strikeout performance, fanning 10 Monarchs while allowing just two hits. Johnson allowed just three hits on the weeked with 22 strikeouts and seven walks in 14 innings pitched.
Salisbury will return to Virginia Beach, Va., as the Gulls take on Virginia Wesleyan College in a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 5. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.