SALEM, Va. – With its first shutout of the Salem, Va., NCAA Regional, the top-seeded Salisbury University softball team advances to Monday's championship game at 10 a.m. The Sea Gulls defeated sixth-seeded Piedmont College, 3-0, on a blustery Sunday morning at Moyer Sports Complex.
The Sea Gulls (38-2) started off the game strong with a two-run inning. Senior Sarah Alpaugh reached first with a single up the middle before advancing to second on classmate Michelle Gravdahl's single through the left side. With two runners on, senior Hannah Mills sliced a double to the gap in right field that plated Alpaugh and Gravdahl for the 2-0 lead.
Sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson controlled the Lions lineup through four innings before Piedmont put two runners on the bags in the fifth inning but the sophomore fired back, striking out Whitney Wolfe for the final out of the inning.
Salisbury added an insurance run in the bottom of the frame as junior Harley Hill led off with a single down the right field line. Alpaugh delivered a sacrifice bunt to move Hill into scoring position, who then scored on the next play as Gravdahl singled to center field. Gravdahl went 2-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI.
Piedmont (33-9) would place runners on first and second in the sixth, with no outs, but a stellar catch by senior Carly Read kept the runners in place and avoided a bases loaded situation, along with giving SU's defense its first out of the inning. Gravdahl and senior Lindsay McCabe caught the final two outs of the inning to enter the bottom of the sixth with the shutout still intact.
Johnson wrapped up the game in the top of the seventh for her third win of the regional. The sophomore allowed four hits while fanning 14 and walking one Lion.
Freshman Katie Sebbane went 2-for-3 on the day while Mills went 1-for-2 with one walk and two RBI.
With the win, Salisbury advances on in the tournament as the only unbeaten team in the regional. Check back at www.suseagulls.com for SU's opponent as it will be determined after the final two games conclude this afternoon. The Sea Gulls will play for the regional title Monday at 10 a.m.