SALISBURY, Md. – Sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson started the Capital Athletic Conference tournament in style, with a perfect game against fourth-seeded York (Pa.) College as the Sea Gulls went on to blank the Spartans 12-0 in five innings of play. Salisbury then capped day one of championship weekend with a 3-2 win over Frostburg State University in extra innings.
Johnson took to the circle against York and fired away, striking out the first nine batters she faced. The Preston, Md., native would fan 11 Spartans while being supported by the SU defense, which took care of four balls put in play.
Salisbury (34-2) took control of the scoreboard in the second inning as senior Carly Read blasted her second home run of the season out past left field. The two-run shot plated classmate Lindsay McCabe who earned a walk with two outs.
The Spartans (11-29) struggled to catch Johnson as the Sea Gulls took the 2-0 lead into the fourth inning and ran away with the contest scoring 10 runs off four hits and two York errors.
In the Sea Gulls' second game of the day, against Frostburg St., Renay Aubel would single up the middle in the second inning, to claim the first hit of the day against Johnson. Johnson fired back with three straight strikeouts.
Frostburg pitcher Mary Ann Moore kept the Sea Gulls off balance until the bottom of the fourth. Senior Hannah Mills led the inning off with a single and then stole second before freshman Katie Sebbane took a free pass to first. With runners on first and second, McCabe sent a line drive down the left-field line to score Mills and take a 1-0 lead. Read followed with a sacrifice fly, plating pinch runner Alexis Peay for the 2-0 edge.
The Bobcats (28-11) would tie things up in the seventh as pinch hitter Allison Williams singled to right field. Shari Beavers made contact with a Johnson pitch and carried the ball out past center field to tie the game at 2-2 with two outs.
Extra innings were needed to settle the contest as junior Kathryn Larson relieved Johnson in the top of the eighth. Johnson had 13 strikeouts in her seven innings of work while scattering three hits and allowing two earned runs.
Larson came through for the maroon and gold, fanning Taylor Blevins and putting the ball in play for the SU defense to collect two outs.
Mills led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Paige Knussman. Mills scored the game-winning run as Sebbane lifted a shot to left field that fell in the gap for the victory.
Larson earned the win in the circle to improve to 13-1.
The Sea Gulls will continue in the winners' bracket and will face the winner of a 10 a.m., contest between second-seeded University of Mary Washington and third-seeded Frostburg St. Salisbury remains the only undefeated team in the double-elimination tournament and will play at 12 p.m., looking to capture its 18th CAC crown. One win will bring Salisbury the championship, while the winner of the morning affair would need to top the Gulls twice to claim the CAC title.