SALISBURY, Md. – It may have been a cold, windy day at the Henry Parker Complex but strong pitching performances and hot bats gave the Salisbury University softball team two victories in the opening day of the Sea Gull Classic.
Sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson continued her streak of double-digit strikeouts with 14 strikeouts, against Allegheny College, and picked up her fifth shutout in as many starts.
The contest between the Sea Gulls and Gators was close as the one run scored by senior outfielder Sarah Alpaugh off the bat of classmate Hannah Mills would be the only run scored in the game. Mills would hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Alpaugh, after she had reached on a Gator error.
Johnson allowed just two hits in the contest, both in the top of the seventh inning, before the Sea Gulls got out of the jam.
Salisbury's second game of the classic ended in five innings of play as the bats came alive against Washington & Jefferson College.
Junior first baseman Harley Hill led off the game with an infield single and would eventually cross home off a Mills' double to right field. Hill finished the day going 3-for-4 with two runs scored while Mills went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and one run scored.
The Sea Gulls (10-0) would pile on the runs, entering the bottom of the second inning up 5-0 against the Presidents.
Washington & Jefferson would have its chances though, filling the bases in the bottom of the first inning, but with two outs and the bags filled senior second baseman Carly Read would make the routine catch on a pop-up to end the inning.
Salisbury did most of its damage in the third inning as senior outfielder Lindsay McCabe began the four-run inning with a double before freshman Paige Knussman would reach first on an error. Read would bring in McCabe while pinch hitter Chelsea Brooks then knocked home pinch runner Molly Gigioli to go up 7-0. The final two runs would touch home off the bats of Hill and Alpaugh.
Junior hurler Kathryn Larson would get out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded once more and just one out. Larson would get Emily Watson swinging and then, with the help of the defense, record the third out without giving up a run. The victory marks Larson's first shutout and fifth win in the circle this season.
The two wins today allow the team to tie second-best program start since 2005. Salisbury opened its 1999 season going 14-0.
The Sea Gulls will wrap up the Sea Gull Classic tomorrow, Saturday, March 9 with a game against Shenandoah University at 12 p.m., and then take the field against Eastern Mennonite University at 2 p.m.