NORFOLK, Va. – The No. 2 Salisbury University softball team needed two wins on Saturday to keep its 2016 season alive and remain in play in the Norfolk, Virginia regional, including one against the No. 1-ranked team in the nation and the Sea Gulls did that with a 2-1 win against top-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College and a 5-0 win against Saint Vincent College.
Salisbury 2, Virginia Wesleyan 1
The Sea Gulls and Marlins squared off in the first elimination game of the regional, with Salisbury getting the win with all of its scoring in the top of the second inning, with a two-out rally.
Designated player Brooke Mizelle got the run started with a single up the middle and sophomore Kristen Yanarella walked before junior Caitlin Lake reached on an infield single to load the bases against Virginia Wesleyan starter Mary Shipp.
The Sea Gulls took advantage of the chance as sophomore LeAnne Collins drove a double to center field, scoring Yanarella and Mizelle for the 2-0 lead.
Salisbury starting pitcher Annah Brittingham made the two runs stand up. Brittingham retired the first seven batters she faced in the game, before the Marlins came up with all of its offense in the bottom of the third inning, notching its only two hits and one run of the day.
Kiersten Richardson bunted with one out and then stole second with two outs. Courtney Bogan's single to center field scored Richardson, making it 2-1, but that was it for the scoring.
The Marlins (38-7) had only two other players reach base in the final four innings, those both came in the bottom of the seventh inning, on consecutive walks with one out in the frame. Brittingham held off the top-ranked team in the nation, getting two pop outs to end the game, sending Salisbury to its second game of the day.
Salisbury 5, Saint Vincent 0
Salisbury left little doubt in the second game, jumping out to a 5-0 lead against Saint Vincent (19-15) through the first two innings of play. The Sea Gulls (36-5) had only one hit in the bottom of the first inning, but took advantage of three Bearcat errors to score three times.
The first error allowed the leadoff batter, Collins, to reach base and, after she stole second, Collins came around to score on a triple from senior Molly Simpson. Salisbury saw a pair of groundouts, but one allowed Simpson to head home for the 2-0 lead and another error led to senior Kim Dorsey scoring for the three-run advantage.
The Sea Gull bats came to life in the bottom of the second inning, with five hits leading to a pair of runs. Lake led off the inning with a single to right and Collins reached on a bunt single after Lake stole second. Simpson was able to single, bringing home Lake, and Paige Knussman, who reached on a walk, later scored in the inning when Dorsey singled through the left side.
The five runs were plenty for Mizelle, who got the start in the circle. Mizelle scattered four hits and walked one in the complete-game effort, allowing only two Bearcats to reach third base in the game. Saint Vincent tried to score with one out in the third, but Dorsey fielded a grounder and fired home to get Kelly Flaherty trying to score as catcher Megan Buonpane applied the tag. Mizelle struck out seven in the game, earning her first career NCAA tournament victory.
The Sea Gulls will play again on Sunday, May 15 taking on Haverford College. The teams square off at noon, with Salisbury needing to win twice to claim the regional title. The Fords can claim the championship and advance to next week's super regional with just one win.