SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 18 Salisbury University softball team claimed its 17th Capital Athletic Conference championship with a 9-1 win against Frostburg State University at the SU Softball Field in five innings of play on Saturday. The win gives Salisbury the CAC's automatic qualification into next month's NCAA tournament.
Frostburg (23-16) got on the board with a run in the top of the first, but the Sea Gulls would not wait long to strike back, countering with three runs in the home half of the second inning.
Senior Casey Zaino, playing in her final home game, opened the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Lindsay McCabe. Zaino's trip home was simple as she trotted in for the run on junior Carly Read's two-run home run to left field, giving the Gulls (35-5) the lead for good.
Salisbury's strong defense got the team out of a two-on, none-out jam in the top of the third as junior catcher Michelle Gravdahl picked Frostburg's Shari Beavers off first base and the Gulls turned a double play to end the frame unscathed.
The Sea Gulls put the game away in the home half of the fourth. A single by Alpaugh and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no outs before senior Erika Brittingham ripped a two-run single to left field. Two more runs came across on McCabe's single to left, one as a result of a Bobcat throwing error and the Gulls led 8-1.
McCabe scored on Read's double to push the game to its final margin.
Freshman pitcher Rachel Johnson came on to work the top of the fifth, in relief of Brittingham, and saw two runners reach base but rallied for three strikeouts to end the game.
Brittingham picked up her 20th win of the season, allowing six hits while striking out seven in four innings of work. The Georgetown, Del., native finished 3-for-3 at the plate while Hill and Read each had two hits.
Salisbury will now await the announcement of the NCAA tournament field next week to find out where they will be heading to open up play in their quest for a national championship.