SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team dropped two contests in a doubleheader against Lynchburg College on Monday afternoon, falling 7-3 and 6-4.
Game 1: Lynchburg 7, Salisbury 3
The Hornets got the offense going early in the opener, scoring three times on four hits to grab the quick lead in the first.
Salisbury answered in the bottom of the first inning with junior LeAnne Collins driving a ball through the left side for a single, and appeared as though she may be stranded on first after a pair of outs, but classmate Annie Pietanza drilled a ball to center field, just missing a two-run home run. She settled for an RBI double as Collins raced around from first to cut the lead to 3-1.
Kristen Yanarella followed with a single up the middle and Pietanza tried to score from first, but a perfect throw from Lynchburg center fielder Skylar Dickens prevented the run from scoring.
The pitchers took over through the middle innings with Salisbury starter Brooke Mizelle and Lynchburg starter Taylor Mabry allowing just two base runners over the next two and a half innings.
Salisbury got a runner in scoring position with one out and had runners at the corners with two down in the fourth, but could not bring a run home.
The Hornets would capitalize on two hits in the top of the fifth to bring home another insurance run and grab a 4-1 lead, but Salisbury got the run right back at the start of the bottom of the fifth.
Mizelle drove a double to center field and scored on a single up the middle by Collins to begin the inning. Salisbury loaded the bases against reliever Stephanie Hogan, who came on after the Collins hit, but the Lynchburg pitcher got a bouncer back to the circle and converted the out to escape the jam.
The Hornets pushed their lead with two more runs in the top of the sixth and one in the seventh. Salisbury got one back in the bottom of the seventh, but could get no more.
Game 2: Lynchburg 6, Salisbury 4
The Hornets (14-2) again struck first in the second game, scoring once in the top of the first inning on a pair of hits.
But the lead only lasted a matter of minutes, with Salisbury coming back in the bottom half of the inning, tying the game without the benefit of a hit. Salisbury got the help of a Lynchburg error and three walks from starting pitcher Conner English to score an unearned run, squaring the game at 1-1.
The Hornets got two runs in the top of the second, with a two-out double to right field from Lauren Smith, which allowed a run to score from first base. Smith advanced to third on the throw home, and then scored on a wild pitch for the 3-1 lead.
The Hornets grew their lead to 6-1 in the top of the third, but Pietanza answered in the home half of the inning. After Caitlin Lake walked, Pietanza drilled a two-run home run to left-center field, her fourth of the year, cutting the deficit to 6-3.
Sophomore pitcher Shannon Powell came on in relief and kept the Hornets off the scoreboard the rest of the way, allowing Salisbury to get another run back in the fifth inning and the Gulls got the tying run to the plate in the seventh after a one-out single from Brooke Yerger. But Hogan, who picked up the save in both games, earned a strikeout and groundout to end the contest.
Collins was 4-for-7 in the doubleheader to lead Salisbury's offensive attack, while Pietanza went 3-for-8. Powell worked 4 2/3 shutout innings in the second game, giving up just three hits.
The Sea Gulls now get a break of nearly two weeks before getting back on the field on March 25 at the University of Mary Washington. That doubleheader will represent the Capital Athletic Conference opener for Salisbury.