SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 7 Salisbury University softball team takes the field at Christopher Newport University needing a doubleheader sweep – something the team has done on nine occasions in 2015 – to earn the Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship.
The Sea Gulls, the second-seeded team in the tournament, face off with the top-seeded host, beginning at 10 a.m., in the double-elimination event. With one loss, the Sea Gulls must win twice to collect the title, while the Captains need to win just once.
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How we got here
Salisbury prevailed in a pair of elimination games on Friday, defeating the University of Mary Washington in the Sea Gulls' first game of the day, 6-2. Katie Sebbane's three-run home run proved to be key for Salisbury in the win. In the second game, the Sea Gulls avenged a pair of earlier losses to Frostburg State University, exploding for 12 runs in five innings. Salisbury trailed 3-0 through two innings, but put up six in the third, highlighted by Paige Knussman's grand slam. Senior Rachel Johnson picked up the two wins on the day.
How they got here
Christopher Newport has gone unbeaten through the first two days of the tournament, defeating Mary Washington on Thursday, 4-1, before taking down Frostburg State, 5-2, on Friday morning. The Captains have been led by Meagan Jones, batting in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, with three hits in the two games during the tournament. Hanah Marshall has led from the circle, with a win and a save in her two tournament appearances.
Scouting Christopher Newport
Jones and Brittney Walters have led the CNU offense throughout the season, with each batting over .400 this year. First baseman Sabrina Hill has hit a team-high seven home runs this year, with 35 RBIs. Marshall and Krista Lewis are the only two pitchers to get the ball for the Captains this year, splitting the starts evenly. Marshall is 14-2 this year with a 2.81 ERA, while Lewis is 12-5 with a 3.97 ERA.
The teams met at the SU Softball Field on April 4, with the Captains picking up the doubleheader sweep. The first game sat at a 1-0 score in the Captains' favor into the sixth inning, before Christopher Newport scored six times in the final two innings. The Captains scored early in the second game on their way to the sweep. Scoop Simon hit three home runs in the two games to lead the offensive outburst.
One of the best rivalries in the Mid-Atlantic Region, the teams have met 64 times since 1989, with the Captains holding a slight edge in the all-time series, with a 34-30 mark all-time.
The CAC champion will earn the coveted automatic qualification in the NCAA tournament, which begins on May 8. Salisbury will be back in action this Wednesday, April 22, hosting Washington (Md.) College in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.