CARY, N.C. – The No. 2 Salisbury University softball team battled a pair of ranked opponents on the final day of the Grand Slam Tournament, splitting the two games, taking an 8-6 defeat at the hands of No. 9 Rowan University, and topping No. 18 Emory University, 7-6.
Rowan 8, Salisbury 6
Salisbury grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning, coming up with a pair of hits with senior Molly Simpson driving in sophomore LeAnne Collins for the first run. A hit batter and a walk loaded the bases in the frame before senior Katie Sebbane was hit by a pitch, forcing home Simpson.
The Profs came up with three hits, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 6-2 lead. Rowan scored three runs in the next two innings before the Sea Gulls began to chip away at the 8-2 deficit.
Salisbury got a run back in the fourth inning when Kim Dorsey drove in Simpson, who walked earlier in the inning.
In the top of the seventh, the Sea Gulls put up their biggest offensive inning, started by Sebbane's single and freshman Amelia Trotter drilled her first career home run, a pinch-hit two-run shot, cutting the lead to 8-5. Junior Caitlin Lake singled with one out to keep the rally going and Collins followed with another hit, her second of the day, and Simpson drove home Salisbury's final run of the day, making it 8-6. With the potential tying run on base, the Profs got a double play to end the contest.
Salisbury 7, Emory 6
The lead went back and forth in Salisbury's final game of the weekend, taking on a perennial NCAA tournament team which had started the season with nine-straight victories.
Collins opened the bottom of the first inning with a triple and quickly scored on Simpson sacrifice fly.
The Eagles came right back to grab the lead in the top of the second, Tori Risner walked with two outs in the inning, ending a string of five-straight strikeouts by Salisbury starter Annah Brittingham to begin that game. A two-run home run gave Emory (9-1) the lead, which stood for just one more inning.
Senior Paige Knussman drilled a solo home run, her first of the year, tying the game, and two batters later Brittingham connected for a two-run home run and a 4-2advantage.
Emory got four runs in the fourth inning, but Salisbury (3-3) tied the game on Knussman's second home run of the game, a two-run blast, in the fifth. The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when Salisbury walked off with the win.
Simpson opened the inning with a walk and advanced on a groundout. With two outs, Brittingham stepped to the plate and came through with the game-winning single, allowing Simpson to score.
Collins and Knussman were each 3-for-4 in the contest, while Knussman and Brittingham each accounted for three RBI.
Freshman Brooke Mizelle collected her third win of the year in the circle, working 3 1/3 innings in relief, giving up just one hit and striking out four.
Salisbury returns home next weekend to host the Salisbury Invitational on March 5 and 6. The Sea Gulls will take on Clarkson University and The College of New Jersey each day.