SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team has played on championship weekend seven times in program history entering 2014. When the Sea Gulls take the field on Thursday they will begin a run at what they hope will be the program's first national championship, taking on the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) at 2:30 p.m., eastern time.
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How we got here
In the NCAA Division III Salisbury, Maryland Super Regional, Salisbury (40-3) earned two dramatic wins. In the opener, the Sea Gulls took a 3-0 lead before the Captains got one back and Salisbury tacked on three more to hold on for a 6-4 win. In the second game, Salisbury led 8-1, then allowed Christopher Newport to get six, but a pair of double plays allowed the Gulls to advance to the championship weekend.
How they got here
The Tommies (42-7) went 22-1 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to become the top seed in the league's tournament, where St. Thomas won three straight to claim the title on May 3. The Tommies were defeated by Augustana (Ill.) College in the opening game of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Regional before reeling off four wins in a row. St. Thomas and North Central split the first two games of their super regional, before the Tommies claimed the rubber match, 10-4, falling behind 4-1 through three innings. St. Thomas came back to score nine runs over the last four frames to advance to this weekend's competition.
In the Championship
This weekend marks the eighth trip for the Gulls to the championship round. Salisbury has played for the title in 1998, 2002, '03, '04, '05, '09, '13, and now this season. The Sea Gulls' best finish in the tournament is a runner-up spot in both 2003 and 2005. In 2005, Salisbury fell to its first opponent of this year's event, St. Thomas. Last season, Salisbury placed third in the event, falling to the State University of New York at Cortland.
Even the Wins Are Bigger in Texas
Salisbury will look for as many big wins as they can come up with this weekend in search of the program's first national championship. A Salisbury University softball team has never played a game in the state of Texas.
The winner of Thursday's game will play against the winner from Thursday's first game between the University of Rochester and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The winners play at 5 p.m., eastern time, on Friday, while the losing teams from the same Thursday games will meet on Friday, at 12 p.m., eastern time, in an elimination game.