NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 18 Salisbury University softball team got off to a quick 1-0 lead over McDaniel College in the regional round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Softball Championship but ultimately fell in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Green Terror came up with a walk-off grand slam to win, 4-2.
Salisbury (37-7) struck first in the top of the first with juniors Sarah Alpaugh and Michelle Gravdahl on second and third base. Senior Erika Brittingham drove a ball up the middle to plate Alpaugh and give the Sea Gulls the early 1-0 lead.
McDaniel (30-13) put a runner on in the bottom of the second but a strikeout by freshman pitcher Rachel Johnson and pick off at first from Gravdahl ended the inning.
The two teams' defenses took control, not allowing any runs until the final inning of play.
The Sea Gulls scored once in the top of the seventh, starting the inning off with a single from sophomore Angelia McDowell, her second hit of the day. The Gulls filled the bases and Gravdahl pushed the second run for Salisbury across the plate with a single through the left side, leaving the bases loaded with one out, but the Sea Gulls could not produce any additional runs, leaving the Green Terror a chance to rally.
The Green Terror did just that filling the bases and hitting a walk-off grand slam from Amy Baumgardner with two outs for the 4-2 win.
Johnson (13-3) had a career day in the circle with 14 strikeouts while walking just two McDaniel batters.
"We have to give McDaniel credit after playing 14 innings yesterday and then battling back today to win, they have an excellent pitcher in Caroline Brehm, who kept us off balance," Head Coach Margie Knight said. "Rachel Johnson also had a great game with 14 strikeouts and as a team we had a fabulous season. We had a great group of young women who stayed together through thick and thin, Erika came right out to Johnson after the game to console her; that's just the type of team this is."
Seniors Casey Zaino and Brittingham end their careers having an overall 149-24 record and perfect play in the Capital Athletic Conference with a record of 63-0. Zaino and Brittingham were a part of four CAC Championship wins, four NCAA appearances and a trip to the 2009 NCAA Division III World Series.