NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 9 Salisbury University softball team traveled to No. 3 Christopher Newport University on Saturday afternoon to open Capital Athletic Conference play, picking up a doubleheader split with the Captains.
Game 1: Salisbury 4, Christopher Newport 2
The Sea Gulls picked up the win in the opener in a narrow contest in which Salisbury grabbed the early lead, and never allowed the Captains get ahead.
Salisbury got the lead in the second inning when senior Annah Brittingham reached on an infield single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt before senior Katie Sebbane's line-drive sacrifice fly made it 1-0.
The Captains drew even in the third, taking advantage of Rachael Payne getting hit by a pitch with one out. She stole second and, after a wild pitch, came home on a Rachael Shiflett single.
Salisbury scored two more runs in the fifth inning, loading the bases with singles from Megan Buopane and Caitlin Lake, and LeAnne Collins walked with one out. After a line out led to the second out, senior Paige Knussman hit a high chopper behind the pitcher's circle. Payne, the Christopher Newport shortstop, charged the ball and couldn't pick up the short hop on the move as Knussman reached safely, scoring Buonpane. As the ball trickled away from Payne, Lake scampered home for the 3-1 lead.
Brittingham, who got the start and worked the first five-plus innings for the Gulls allowed a walk to open the sixth inning and sophomore Annie Pietanza came on to pitch. A pair of singles loaded the bases with no outs, but Pietanza escaped the jam allowing just one run with a sacrifice fly and a pair of strikeouts.
Leading 3-2, Salisbury got the insurance run back in the top of the seventh when Lake drilled her second home run of the year, a solo shot with one out.
Pietanza would allow two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, with a single and hitting a batter with two outs, giving way to freshman Brooke Mizelle, who came on and slammed the door for her first collegiate save. With the potential tying run on first base, Mizelle got a groundout from the first batter she faced, ending the threat and the game.
Game 2: Christopher Newport 5, Salisbury 3
The Captains (17-2, 1-1 CAC) took the early lead in the second game and scored single runs in five-straight innings to bring an end to Salisbury's 15-game winning streak.
Christopher Newport got a run home in the second inning, with two hits including a one-out run-scoring double.
The early lead only lasted until the top of the third when Salisbury (17-4, 1-1 CAC) drew even with just one hit. Buonpane walked to begin the inning, being lifted for Summer Paglianete as a pinch runner. Paglianete advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on a base hit before coming in on an RBI groundout from senior Molly Simpson.
After a CNU run came home in the third, Salisbury picked up the lead in the fourth with three hits, starting with Brittingham's leadoff double. She advanced on a Kim Dorsey single and scored on a wild pitch, while Mizelle drove in Dorsey later in the inning for a 3-2 lead.
The Captains tied the game in the fourth and took the lead for good in the fifth with a sacrifice fly from Shiflett doing the damage. Another run in the bottom of the sixth capped the scoring.
The Sea Gulls get back on the field on Wednesday, March 30 traveling to Stevenson University for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.