SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 1 Salisbury University softball team celebrated senior day on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of Capital Athletic Conference-foe University of Mary Washington at the SU Softball Field.
Prior to the first game, the Sea Gulls recognized Molly Gigioli, Harley Hill, Kathryn Larson, Angelia McDowell, and Virginia Walther, along with coaches Nicole McClaskey and Jess Stoltz, all of whom were competing in their final regular-season games at the SU Softball Field. In the past four years, the program has compiled a 144-18 record including three CAC championships and an NCAA World Series appearance in 2013.
Game one: Salisbury 8, Mary Washington 0 (5 inn.)
In the opener, junior pitcher Rachel Johnson continued her run in the program and NCAA record books, tossing her second-consecutive perfect game. Coming off a perfect outing against Wesley College on Wednesday, Johnson did the same against Mary Washington, striking out 10 of the 15 batters she faced.
The no-hitter is her fifth solo effort of the season, which is the most in a single season in Division III history. She also now has a Division III-record five career perfect games.
The Gulls got on the board in the second inning after four-consecutive singles to open the frame from sophomores Paige Knussman and Katie Sebbane, junior Rebecca Hoey, and Gigioli. Knussman sent a sharp grounder up the middle, off the glove of a diving Alex Tenney at second base, and after fouling off a pair of two-strike pitches, Sebbane looped a liner to left, advancing Knussman to second.
Hoey, whose at-bat remained alive when a foul ball was dropped by the Eagles, lined a single down the right field line, scoring Knussman for the 1-0 lead. Gigioli followed with a perfect bunt, which she beat out for a single, loading the bases.
After bases-loaded walks from Hill and pinch hitter Walther, sophomore Kim Dorsey stepped to the plate and turned on a pitch up in the zone, driving her 12th home run of the year, a grand slam, for a 7-0 lead.
Salisbury added to the lead in the third, when sophomore Molly Simpson just missed her third home run of the year, blasting a double high off the center field fence to score Gigioli from first base.
The eight-run lead would hold up through five innings as Johnson tossed the perfect game, and has not allowed a base runner over her last 11 innings.
Hoey was the only Sea Gull with two hits in the game, going 2-for-2 with an RBI, as Salisbury had seven hits in the contest.
Game two: Salisbury 9, Mary Washington 1 (5 inn.)
In the second game, the Eagles (13-12, 6-6 CAC) would string together three hits against Larson in the top of the first, only two of which left the infield, to push across a run for the early advantage.
The lead would be short-lived as the Sea Gulls came back in the bottom of the first inning, and grabbed the lead. Hill opened the inning with a single up the middle before Dorsey blasted her second home run of the day, a two-run shot, for the 2-1 Salisbury lead.
Larson would take control the rest of the way, giving up just three hits in her final four innings in the circle. She struck out five and saw just one Mary Washington player reach scoring position, and that came with the help of a Salisbury error.
Salisbury (29-1, 9-1 CAC) lengthened its lead in the second inning, stringing together three hits to open the frame, beginning with a Hoey double. She would score two batters later on Simpson's single up the middle for a 3-1 lead.
After the first out of the inning, on a sacrifice bunt, the Sea Gulls put up four more hits, highlighted by a two-run single to right field by sophomore Sebbane extending the lead to 8-1.
Salisbury would finish the game in the bottom of the fifth when McDowell's infield single plated Simpson to end the contest.
The top-four batters in the Salisbury lineup: Hill, McDowell, Dorsey, and Knussman each had two hits in the game while McDowell, Dorsey, and Sebbane each drove in a pair.
Salisbury will be back in action tomorrow, traveling to Frostburg State University for each team's final CAC contests. The doubleheader will begin at noon.
The Sea Gulls need to win both games to force a tie atop the conference standings with Christopher Newport University, forcing a coin flip for the top-seed and host team for the CAC tournament, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday.