SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team begins play in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday, taking on Frostburg State University in a contest to be played at top-seeded Christopher Newport University. The game is scheduled to begin at noon.
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How we got here
Salisbury went 21-15 in the regular season with a 10-4 mark in CAC play to earn the No. 3 seed in this weekend's double-elimination event. The Sea Gulls won their final three CAC games and seven of their final nine to secure the third seed.
How they got here
The Bobcats went 23-13 in the regular season and posted an 11-3 mark in the CAC to claim the No. 2 seed in the field. The Bobcats just missed out on the top spot and the opportunity to host, finishing two games behind Christopher Newport. Those teams squared off in the final doubleheader of the season, with the Captains claiming both games, by scores of 7-5 and 4-0.
Scouting the Bobcats
Runs are hard to come by when playing Frostburg State as the team ranks second in the CAC in earned-run average, at 2.48, while standing 18th in the nation and second in the CAC with nine shutouts this season. The Bobcats do not give runs away, with the eighth-best fielding percentage in the nation at .975, having made just 24 errors in 36 games. Allison Short leads the pitching staff with a 1.91 ERA and a 13-5 record, striking out 77 batters in 116 1/3 innings. Offensively, Sam Gatton is the big stick for the Bobcats, leading the team with a .473 batting average, six home runs and second on the team with 19 RBI.
Last time we met
The teams got together for a doubleheader at Sea Gull Softball Stadium on April 2, splitting the twinbill. The Bobcats took the opener, 7-2, despite only getting six hits in the game. The two big shots were a three-run triple from Emily Harvey with two outs in the third inning and a two-run single from Brittney Platt in the fifth. Junior Annie Pietanza was 2-for-3 for the Sea Gulls with a double. In the second game, sophomore Shannon Powell pitched a gem, giving up just five hits in a complete-game shutout, as Salisbury won 1-0. Pietanza's solo home run in the third inning accounted for all of the scoring.
Salisbury is one of the top power-hitting teams in the nation and in the CAC tournament field this week. The team enters play with 25 home runs in its 36 games, with the home runs per game ranked 22nd in the nation and leading the CAC. Salisbury also has the speed to leg out doubles and triples, leading to a team slugging percentage of .489, which ranks 31st in Division III softball and second in the conference. Freshman Emily Allen and Pietanza are tied for the team lead with six home runs each, and Pietanza leads the team with a .752 slugging percentage, thanks to 13 doubles and a pair of triples.
The winner of Thursday's contest will advance to the first game of the day on Friday, beginning at 10 a.m., while the loser of the Salisbury/Frostburg State game will have to turn around and play in an elimination game on Thursday at 4 p.m.