Salisbury, Md. – The No. 2 Salisbury University softball team opened the 2016 season with a doubleheader split against No. 14 Virginia Wesleyan College in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon.
Game 1: Virginia Wesleyan 5, Salisbury 0
During the first four innings of the opening contest, both teams were unable to get on the scoreboard. The defenses were on point during the span, as the Sea Gulls and the Marlins combined for just two hits during the first four frames.
Senior Annah Brittingham saw the start in the circle for Salisbury, pitching 5 2/3 innings and notching two strikeouts in the game, including a strikeout to end the fourth inning.
Virginia Wesleyan broke through in the fifth inning, scoring four unearned runs to take a 4-0 lead, highlighted by RBI doubles from Jessica Lindsay and Kayla Dost.
In the top of the sixth, senior shortstop Kim Dorsey made a diving catch running into left center on a shallow fly ball to put two outs on the board, but the Marlins held on to win after adding one more run in the inning.
Game 2: Salisbury 7, Virginia Wesleyan 1
Virginia Wesleyan (1-1) opened up the scoring in game two with an unearned run to go up 1-0; Courtney Bogan scored from third after Cassity Howerin grounded out to Dorsey.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore LeAnne Collins got to first on a one-out bunt single, before a single to center field by senior Paige Knussman sent Collins to second. Brittingham hit a single through the left side that loaded the bases on the next at-bat, but the Sea Gulls could not bring a run home in the inning.
Neither team could put something on the scoreboard in the second, and freshman Brooke Mizelle, who saw the start in the circle in game two, tallied a strikeout and only allowed one hit in the inning.
Despite the lack of offense in the first two innings, the Sea Gulls (1-1) got it going in the third, notching all seven of their runs in the frame.
After a single from Kim Dorsey, Collins hit a single through the left side that sent Dorsey to second. On the next at-bat, Knussman stepped up to the plate and slammed a two-run double into right center, scoring Dorsey and Collins.
With the score at 2-1 and no outs, Salisbury was not done, as Brittingham hit a double off the fence in right center that scored Knussman before Mizelle's double to center field scored Brittingham and senior Katie Sebbane, who singled on the previous at-bat.
Mizelle's double caused the Marlins to make a pitching change, but the Sea Gull bats continued to make noise. Mizelle got home on an error and freshman Courtney Tate blasted a two-run home run over the fence in left center to cap the scoring in the game; the homer was the first hit of Tate's career.
For the next three innings, Mizelle allowed only two Marlin hits and tallied two strikeouts to keep Virginia Wesleyan from threatening late.
Sophomore Annie Pietanza took over in the circle for the Sea Gulls for the final 2/3 innings, and kept the Marlins off the bases.
Knussman and Brittingham each went 2-for-4 in the game, notching two and one RBI, respectively, while Mizelle went 1-for-3 with an RBI and earned her first-career win as a starting pitcher.
The Gulls will be back in action on Saturday, February 27, when they travel to Cary, North Carolina to compete against Roanoke College and Salem College on the first day of the Grand Slam Tournament. Salisbury's game against Roanoke is set for 12 p.m., before it takes on Salem for a 4 p.m., matchup.