Knight earns 800th career win as softball takes two on first day of CAC tournament

Knight earns 800th career win as softball takes two on first day of CAC tournament

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team opened play in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament on Friday, picking up a pair of wins in the double-elimination first weekend, topping the University of Mary Washington and York College of Pennsylvania. With the opening win, the Sea Gulls gave Head Coach Margie Knight her 800th career victory.

Salisbury 7, Mary Washington 1

The opening game remained scoreless into the bottom of the third inning, but junior Cat Ramagnano ended that with a solo home run on the second pitch she saw leading off the frame and giving the Sea Gulls a 1-0 lead.

A single and a two-base throwing error put Salisbury's LeAnne Collins on third base, and she scored the second run of the third inning when Annie Pietanza's groundball to shortstop allowed Collins to score as interference was called on Mary Washington catcher Kassie Bender for the 2-0 lead.

Collins helped add to the lead with her bat in the fourth, dropping a two-out single into left-center field, scoring Emily Allen and Ramagnano pushing the advantage to 4-0.

Starting pitcher Shannon Powell had all the run support she needed. After working through a few jams early, the junior retired 12 in a row at one point, giving up just five hits in the game, and the only run she allowed came in the final inning after Salisbury had opened a 7-0 lead.

Collins led the offensive effort, going 3-for-4 with three runs driven in and two scored.

Knight became just the 13th coach in Division III history to reach the 800-win plateau, and has been efficient about it with her 80.6 winning percentage ranked fourth among all Division III coaches.

Salisbury 12, York 3

The Sea Gulls (26-10) wasted no time taking getting on the board in the second game, scoring two in the top of the first inning off York starting pitcher Shyla Pastore, who was making just the fifth appearance of her career.

After an error put Collins on base, Dakotah Fraley hit a double to right field and both runners scored on a sharply-hit single up the middle by designated player Brea Bishop.

The Spartans (25-14-1) got two runs to draw even against Salisbury starter Rachael Milligan in the bottom of the first on a solo home run by Joanna Marmo and a sacrifice fly.

The tie game lasted only until the second when Salisbury scored two more thanks to a pair of York errors and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Fraley.

From there, Milligan minimized the York chances, allowing just one more run, that coming in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-out triple, cutting Salisbury's lead to 4-3. The Spartans put the potential tying run into scoring position in the sixth following a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt, but Milligan got a pair of pop outs to end the threat and protect the lead.

The Salisbury bats exploded in the top of the seventh coming up with nine consecutive two-out hits to score eight times with Amelia Trotter sending two home with a triple to right-center field. It was one of three extra-base hits in the frame.

Bishop and Sami Mumford each went 3-for-4 in the game while driving in a pair of runs. Mumford also scored two while Pietanza and Collins each had two hits.

Milligan needed just 82 pitches to finish off her complete game victory, scattering seven hits.

The Spartans defeated the Eagles in the other game on Friday, leaving Salisbury and York standing alone headed to Saturday. The teams meet at 10 a.m., with Salisbury needing just one win to advance to next week's CAC championship series. If the Spartans take the 10 a.m., meeting, the teams will play a winner-take-all game at noon.

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