March 27, 2013

Four home runs help SU to first sweep of CNU since 2007

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 9 Salisbury University softball team used four home runs and 23 runs to snap a five-year drought at the Captain Softball Park, on Wednesday afternoon, sweeping No. 21 Christopher Newport University, 12-2 and 11-4. The sweep at the Captain Softball Park is the first for the Sea Gulls since the 2007 season.

In SU's opener against the Captains, senior shortstop Hannah Mills blasted a three-run homer to give Salisbury (18-2) an early three-run lead in the top of the first inning. Mills' fourth home run of the season would prove to be all that would be needed to earn the victory but SU tacked on nine additional runs while only giving up two.

Christopher Newport (17-10) would knock in two runs after loading the bases in the bottom of the first, but sophomore hurler Rachel Johnson would not give up another run after getting out of the first inning.

Johnson and the Sea Gull defense found themselves in three additional bases loaded situations and successfully ended all scoring threats, including a double play in the fifth inning to escape the inning unscathed. The Preston, Md., native had nine strikeouts in the contest while allowing seven hits and walking nine.

In the second contest, Salisbury would fall behind 3-1, but a Mills' home run, in the third inning, after senior catcher Michelle Gravdahl doubled to center field allowed the maroon and gold to tie the game at three before the Captains tilted the lead in their favor after a double by Chelsea Mitchell brought home Kristina McLaughlin. Mills went 7-for-8 with two homers, three doubles and one walk while touching home three times and collecting six RBIs.

Gravdahl gave SU the lead for good, hitting her first home run of the day, a two-run shot, and would add a second in SU's breakout fifth inning. Salisbury brought in six runs off three hits and two Captain errors in the fifth inning, including Gravdahl's three-run bomb with two outs to plate juniors Harley Hill and Angelia McDowell.  

Junior pitcher Kathryn Larson tossed three full innings before Johnson entered the circle earning the win, her second of the day. Johnson struckout six Captains while walking one and allowing three hits in her second appearance.

Gravdahl went 6-for-9 with two home runs and one double. The senior scored seven runs and picked up seven RBI. Hill batted .444 with two doubles while seniors Lindsay Brown and Lindsay McCabe each hit .375, going 3-for-8 at the plate.

On Saturday, March 30, Salisbury will open up play in the Capital Athletic Conference as it travels to York (Pa.) College for a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.

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