SALEM, Va. – The No. 4 Salisbury University softball team opened the 2015 NCAA Softball Championship by getting some late-game offense to grab a 2-1 win against DePauw University at the Moyer Sports Complex on Thursday evening.
"I thought we played very good defense and I was really pleased with that," Head Coach Margie Knight said. "We're very happy to have won that game. We had some very timely hits, and we took advantage of anything that was given to us."
It was junior Kim Dorsey that came through in the bottom of the sixth inning to send the game-winning run across, but it was not without some help from the DePauw defense, which put the Gulls in scoring position.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, tied 1-1, the Sea Gulls put the ball in play against DePauw pitcher Emma Baldwin and got some help. Senior Angela Malgieri grounded a ball to the shortstop, reaching base on a fielding error. She would move to second base when junior Rachel Spadin dropped down a bunt with a full count at the end of a long at-bat, and the throw from Baldwin sailed over the first baseman's head, giving the Sea Gulls runners on first and second. The two miscues were the final of four DePauw errors in the contest.
Dorsey took one pitch before hitting a soft liner into left field, which was knocked down by the wind, dropping in front of left fielder Beth Chelmowski, allowing Malgieri to race around third for the 2-1 lead.
"Luckily we had speed on second base, so she could come around and score," Dorsey said. "I was just looking for my pitch and luckily it got in."
Senior pitcher Rachel Johnson retired the side in order in the seventh, including two of her seven strikeouts on the day, to finish off the win.
Johnson only allowed two hits in the game, but the first gave the Tigers (35-15) the lead, 1-0, when Taylor Golden drove a ball out to left field for a solo home run in the second inning.
It was in the bottom of the third inning when the Sea Gulls were able to tie the contest. With two outs, Katie Sebbane singled through the right side and advanced to second base on a wild pitch before Paige Knussman ripped a ball toward the DePauw shortstop, Gabby Smart. The ball took a big hop in front of Smart, and deflected off her into left field, allowing Sebbane to score with the tying run.
The Salisbury defense came through for Johnson in the top of the sixth inning with Spadin running down what looked to be a sure double into the gap in right-center field with a runner on base, and junior second baseman Molly Simpson racing toward foul ground to grab a pop up to end the inning.
The strong defensive plays kept the game tied at 1-1, setting up for Dorsey's heroics in the bottom of the sixth, keeping the Sea Gulls in the winner's section of their half of the bracket.
Salisbury (36-6) returns to action on Friday, May 22, taking on either Tufts University or Alma College at 6:30 p.m.