SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 4 Salisbury University softball team is one win away from a return trip to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship, and it will have two chances to pick up the win, against No. 11 Christopher Newport University on Saturday, May 16.
After Salisbury grabbed the first game in the best-of-three series on Friday, the teams square off in game 2 today at 1 p.m., with the final game, if necessary, scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Follow the game
Salisbury came out strong in the opening game of the super regional, scoring five times in the first two innings and using that start to grab an 8-0 win in six innings. Junior designated player Annah Brittingham was 3-for-4 in the game, scoring twice and driving in a pair. Classmates Katie Sebbane and Paige Knussman each had a pair of hits and scored twice as well. Senior pitcher Rachel Johnson worked all six innings in the circle, allowing just one hit and striking out seven.
Turning the page
This season, the Captains held a 3-0 record against Salisbury, and were able to score 27 runs on .341 hitting heading into the super regional. Friday's opening game was a different story, as Christopher Newport went 1-for-18 (.056) in the contest. The Sea Gull offense had managed just seven runs in those previous three games while batting .279. Salisbury was 11-of-26 (.423) in Friday's game while scoring the eight runs and coming up with four extra-base hits.
Defense wins championships
The Salisbury defense was stellar on Friday, playing errorless softball for the 22nd time this year. The Sea Gulls entered the super regional with a .976 fielding percentage, which ranked fifth in the nation. The strong defense is no fluke, as the Sea Gulls led the nation in 2014, with a .983 fielding percentage.
Back to the championship?
Salisbury is looking to make its third-straight trip the NCAA Division III Softball Championship with a win today. The Sea Gulls have made eight appearances in the final week of Division III action, including trips to Eau Claire, Wisconsin two years ago and Tyler, Texas in 2014. A trip this year would have the Gulls one trip shy of the program's top mark, having made four-straight appearances from 2002-05.
The team that advances out of the super regional will advance to the NCAA Championship in Salem, Virginia beginning on Thursday, May 21. The event is a double-elimination tournament, which will whittle the field down to two teams for a best-of-three series for the national title.