SALISBURY, Md. – After falling to Lynchburg, 6-4, in game one of Sunday afternoon's doubleheader the No. 18 Salisbury University softball team dug deep in game two and pulled out a 2-1 win in nine innings after falling behind, 1-0, in the fifth.
Game two would prove to be a nail biter as the teams battled through four scoreless innings with both teams making great defensive stops. Senior second baseman Carly Read would snatch a hard shot through the right side out of the air to keep runners off the bags in the first inning before Lynchburg earned a run off a Nicole Shipp single in the fifth inning.
The Sea Gulls (12-2) looked as though they would tie the game at one apiece in the sixth. Senior catcher Michelle Gravdahl opened the inning with a double and senior shortstop Hannah Mills followed up with a fly ball to center field that looked as though it would get past Lynchburg's center fielder, but Shipp made diving play with her back to home plate, allowing Gravdahl to just advance to third, where she would be stranded.
With their backs against the wall, Salisbury entered the bottom of the seventh down 1-0 and delivered the tying run off the bat junior first baseman Harley Hill. Brown led off the inning with a walk before junior outfielder Angelia McDowell singled to shortstop, beating out the throw as the Hornets checked pinch runner Molly Gigioli at second, though Gigioli would still advance to third on the play. Hill then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Gigioli. Hill went 3-for-6 in the doubleheader with one run scored, three RBIs and two walks.
Junior hurler Kathryn Larson went all nine innings for the Sea Gulls, a career best, and in the eighth inning struck out Cassie Phillips with two runners on to give SU a chance in the bottom of the inning but it would be in the bottom of the ninth, after Larson picked up her fifth strikeout, that the maroon and gold would score the game-winning run.
Senior Chelsea Brooks came in to pinch run for Brown and advanced to third off a Read sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Hill blasted a shot to left field to end the game in SU's favor, 2-1, as Brooks touched home.
Larson earned her sixth win in the circle.
Salisbury started game one by scoring in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead and would tack on three additional runs to push the advantaage to 4-0 into the sixth inning. Senior designated player Lindsay Brown brought in two of the four runs for the Sea Gulls and finished the day going 2-for-5 with a .400 batting average and two walks.
The four runs would not be enough, however, as Lynchburg (9-4) scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning. With bases loaded, Danielle Powell would clear the bases with a double to center field to move the Hornets within one, 4-3, before Cassie Phillips sent in the tying run off a sacrifice fly to center field. Lynchburg would score twice more before the inning ended. The Sea Gulls were not able to answer back as sophomore Rachel Johnson took her first loss of the season.
Johnson allowed five hits while walking four and striking out 11 Lynchburg batters.
Salisbury returns to action at the SU Softball Field on Friday, March 15 as it hosts Capital University and the State University of New York at Cortland in the first day of the Salisbury Invitational. SU takes the field at noon against the Crusaders and then again at 2 p.m., against the Red Dragons.