SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 6 Salisbury University softball team rolled through a Capital Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of Penn State University-Harrisburg on Sunday afternoon at the SU Softball Field, smashing seven home runs on the day.
Game 1: Salisbury 18, Harrisburg 0 (5 inn.)
Prior to the start of the first game, the six Salisbury seniors were honored for their contributions to the program. The group kept the contributions coming on Sunday with senior Molly Simpson making the first impact, and perhaps the biggest throughout the day.
After senior pitcher Annah Brittingham cruised through the first inning, taking down the Lions in order, sophomore LeAnne Collins reached on an error and Simpson drilled a two-run home run to left field, turning on an 0-and-1 pitch. It was the start of a 5-for-5 day at the plate for the Port Tobacco, Maryland native.
Salisbury added four runs in the second inning, with Simpson ripping a two-run double in the frame, and four more in the third, all on home runs. Senior Katie Sebbane belted a solo home run to open the frame and Simpson blasted her second of the game – a three-run shot – later in the inning.
The Sea Gulls put the game away in the fourth inning, scoring eight more runs on eight hits, with three of the runs coming on a blast from senior Paige Knussman. Simpson drove in one more with a single in the inning for eight runs driven in during the first game. It is a career-high for Simpson, and one shy of the CAC record, set by Salisbury's Myra Parks on March 31, 1997 against Catholic University of America. Only five players in Division III softball have had more RBI in a game this season.
Brittingham kept the Lions off balance throughout the contest, allowing just a pair of hits and a walk while striking out eight. The defense behind her helped keep the shutout intact, as Harrisburg threatened in the third inning, getting the leadoff runner on base and a double with two outs nearly scored the run. But Collins came up firing from right field, gunning down Jenna Rupakus at the plate as she tried to score from first.
Game 2: Salisbury 13, Harrisburg 1 (5 inn.)
The second game started in matching fashion, with a quick top half of the first inning, this time from freshman pitcher Brooke Mizelle, before Simpson kept swinging. Collins dropped a single in front of Harrisburg leftfielder Jasmine Yanich before Simpson ripped her third home run of the day to straight-away center field.
The three blasts give her 10 home runs on the year, which vaults her into a tie for second in Division III softball.
After the Lions pushed their only run of the day across in the top of the second, an unearned run, Salisbury (23-4, 5-1 CAC) opened things up with five runs in the bottom half to grab a 7-1 lead. The Sea Gulls had five hits in the inning, including three-straight doubles from Mizelle, Kristen Yanarella, and Caitlin Lake.
Mizelle went to work from there, both in the circle and at the plate. She did not allow another Harrisburg (8-13, 1-7 CAC) run in the contest, striking out a career-high nine batters in the complete-game effort.
She came through in the third inning, drilling a solo home run – the first of her career – to lead off the inning.
Salisbury added five more runs in the fifth inning to close out the game, getting a two-run home run from senior Kim Dorsey.
The senior class of Brittingham, Dorsey, Knussman, Sebbane, Simpson, and Rachel Spadin combined to go 16-for-33 (.485 average) in the doubleheader with all six getting at least one hit and each scoring at least once.
The Sea Gulls come back tomorrow, Monday, April 11, hosting York College of Pennsylvania for another CAC twinbill at the SU Softball Field. The first game is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.