SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team split its doubleheader with Averett University on Tuesday afternoon, falling 11-2 in the opener and winning the second game, 5-4.
Game 1: Averett 11, Salisbury 2
The Cougars struck first with a bunt base hit in the opening inning of the first game followed by a stolen base and a single through the left side, with Mikayla Meehan's throw home just late to get the speedy Averett leadoff batter Jessica Long, who scored from second on the play.
But Salisbury answered back in the home half of the first inning after junior LeAnne Collins walked to begin the frame and the inning remained alive on a two-out Cougar error. Salisbury got an unearned run when freshman Emily Allen drove a ball through the left side for a single, scoring classmate Meehan from second base.
Averett opened things up plating three runs in the third and two more in the second, holding the 6-1 lead until the fifth inning. After the Cougars scored five runs in the top of the fifth, Salisbury needed three runs to keep the game going.
Collins opened the inning with a bunt single, and came around to score on a single from Annie Pietanza, but it was the only run the home team could come up with.
Salisbury had four hits in the game, two from Pietanza, in the defeat.
Game 2: Salisbury 5, Averett 4
Averett (10-10) struck first in the second game, as well, scoring three times in the top of the third inning. The Cougars had three of their six hits in the game off Salisbury starter Shannon Powell in the inning, to take the 3-0 lead.
Salisbury came back with a vengeance in the bottom of the inning, getting all of the offense the team would need. After a walk and an Averett error, Collins drilled a two-run double to straightaway center field, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Salisbury (5-7) tied the game three batters later when Pietanza dropped a bloop double into center field, scoring Collins, and ending the day for Averett starting pitcher Amanda Wright.
Taylor Bailey, who held the Salisbury bats in check during the opening game, was called upon to face Allen, but the freshman was not intimidated. She turned on the second pitch she saw for a line-drive home run over the left field fence, bringing in two runs for a 5-3 lead.
Powell would surrender one more run, coming in top of the fifth inning, but the sophomore shut things down from there, allowing only one more base runner following the Cougars' fourth run, and retiring the final seven batters in order to close out the first complete game of her career. Powell scattered six hits and struck out four in the victory.
The Sea Gulls return to action this weekend, hosting the Salisbury Invitational at Sea Gull Softball Stadium, welcoming The State University of New York at New Paltz, Ursinus College and Lynchburg College for the two-day event beginning on Saturday, March 11.