NORFOLK, Va. – The No. 2 Salisbury University softball team suffered a 1-0 loss in a pitchers' duel in the opening game of the Norfolk, Virginia Regional of the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament on Friday morning to Haverford College.
The game saw Salisbury starting pitcher Annah Brittingham and Haverford's Sara Tauriello keep the opposing batters off balance throughout the game, as the teams combined for just six hits.
Despite registering two hits in the game, Salisbury put the pressure on Tauriello with patience at the plate, walking six times and putting runners on base in four of the six innings that Tauriello was in the game.
Two one-out walks in the first inning put Sea Gulls on first and second, but a pair of outs stranded the runners for Salisbury.
The Fords (25-19) loaded the bases on a bloop single and a pair of walks with one out in the top of the second inning. Brittingham got out of the jam as she got a groundball to Kim Dorsey at shortstop, who came home for the force out, and then the next batter, Emily Winesett, grounded out to Molly Simpson at second base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Sea Gulls would threaten again, with LeAnne Collins reaching on a single up the middle with one out and advancing to second base on a fielding error. After a strikeout and a two-out walk, Tauriello got a fly out to end the inning.
Haverford scored the game's only run in the top of the fourth when Kendall Chambers turned on a 3-and-1 pitch with two outs for a solo home run to left field, her fifth home run of the year. The shot was one of just four hits on the day surrendered by Brittingham, who struck out three and walked five.
Salisbury put together another scoring chance in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Brittingham led off with a double over the head of Haverford left fielder Alex Craig. After a flyout, Brittingham advanced to third on another ball lifted to right-center field. Salisbury would load the bases with walks from pinch hitter Brooke Mizelle and Kristen Yanarella, but a pop out in foul ground ended the threat.
With the strong showing in the bottom of the sixth, the Sea Gulls were afforded a chance with the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the seventh, needing one run to extend the game, but Haverford's Chambers came on to retire the side in order to earn her third save of the year.
With the loss, Salisbury now needs two wins in each of the next two days to advance through the weekend. The Sea Gulls will take on No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan College which lost on Friday to Saint Vincent College, 2-0. The first pitch for Saturday's elimination game is 1:30 p.m.