VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A three-run home run by senior catcher Michelle Gravdahl gave the Salisbury University softball team its first lead of the second game of a doubleheader against Virginia Wesleyan College, as the Sea Gulls went on to win, 5-3. Salisbury handled the Marlins in the first game, 4-0, as sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson earned the win in the circle.
In the first game of the afternoon, Salisbury (8-0) would score its first run off the bat of senior outfielder Lindsay McCabe in the top of the third inning. Her single through the left side would plate classmate Sarah Alpaugh for the 1-0 lead. The one run would prove all the Sea Gulls would need to claim the victory.
Through four innings of play, Johnson faced 12 batters striking out 10 Marlins.
Virginia Wesleyan (8-4) would get its first base runner in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Johnson walked Season Dailey but a groundout and flyout ended the scoring threat.
The Sea Gulls would score three additional runs in the top of the sixth inning as Gravdahl picked up an RBI and shortstop Hannah Mills sent a two-run blast out of the Marlins Softball Field for her third home run of the season.
Johnson earned her fourth shutout of the season while matching her career-high 14 strikeouts, retiring the first seven Marlin batters on strikes.
The Marlins would be the early aggressor in the second game, taking the lead in the bottom of the first inning and again, 2-1, in the bottom of the third before SU tied the game for the second time in the fifth inning. Senior designated hitter Lindsay Brown brought home freshman Katie Sebbane, for the 2-2 tie; Brown had two RBIs in the contest.
After battling back twice, Salisbury took the lead for good, 5-2, as Gravdahl blasted her second home run of the season, a three-run shot, to left field.
The Marlins got one run back in the bottom of the sixth as junior hurler Kathryn Larson was relieved by Johnson with two outs. Larson had eight strikeouts in her 5 2/3 innings pitched.
Johnson would come in with two outs and retire the first Marlin batter she faced to enter the final inning of play before allowing one walk and striking out three Marlins in the seventh to pick up the save.
Salisbury will host the Sea Gull Classic at the Henry Parker Complex in Salisbury, Md., this Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9. The Sea Gulls will take on Allegheny College and Washington & Jefferson College at 2 p.m., and 4 p.m., respectively, in the first day of competition.