SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 7 Salisbury University softball team will begin what it hopes is four wins over the next two days to claim the program's 18th conference championship. Salisbury will take on the University of Mary Washington on Friday, April 17 at noon. With a win, the Sea Gulls would play a second game to advance to championship Saturday.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls went 11-3 in CAC play during the regular season to lock up the No. 2 seed in this week's tournament. In the opening round of the championship, on Thursday morning, the Gulls ran into Frostburg State University starting pitcher Allison Short, who limited the Salisbury bats to two hits in a 4-0 Bobcat victory. The Gulls rebounded with a 7-2 win against York College of Pennsylvania, later in the day, led by three-run home runs from Paige Knussman and Annah Brittingham. The win eliminated the Spartans, but allowed Salisbury to continue play in the tournament.
How they got here
The Eagles went 8-6 in CAC regular-season play to earn the fourth seed in the conference tournament. Mary Washington topped York on Thursday morning, scoring six times in the bottom of the sixth to erase a two-run deficit and grab a 6-4 win. In their second game of the day, the Eagles fell to top-seeded Christopher Newport University, 4-1. The Eagles had nine hits in the game, but could score only once, in the fifth inning after trailing 4-0.
Scouting Mary Washington
Mary Washington has won six of its last eight games coming into today, for a 21-13 overall record in 2015. Sophomore catcher Olivia Tatara leads the way for the Eagles, with a .378 batting average and seven extra-base hits including a home run and five doubles. Seniors Hannah Otterman and Rachel Watts have split time in the circle, accounting for 27 starts. Otterman carries a 2.51 ERA, while Watts' ERA sits at 3.63.
Salisbury swept its doubleheader at Mary Washington on March 21; they were just the 10th and 11th games of the 2015 season for the Sea Gulls. Salisbury came up with 11 hits in the opener, a 4-1 win, while Rachel Johnson struck out nine in the complete-game effort. In the second game, Salisbury grabbed a shutout win, 4-0, with Rebecca Hoey driving in two runs and Brittingham striking out eight to collect the win in the circle.
The teams have met 72 times in program history, with the Sea Gulls winning 61 of the contests, including the last 19. In neutral-site affairs, the Sea Gulls hold a 4-2 edge.
Revenge… or revenge?
With a win, Salisbury would face either Frostburg State University or Christopher Newport University in an elimination game at 2 p.m., this afternoon. The Captains swept a doubleheader with the Sea Gulls two weeks ago, while the Bobcats handed Salisbury its first loss of this tournament.
The winner will turn around and play a second game, against the loser of the first game of the day, between Frostburg State and Christopher Newport, playing for the right to advance to championship Saturday.