SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team battled to the end of its Capital Athletic Conference tournament opening weekend, fighting off a Saturday charge from York College of Pennsylvania in order to advance to the CAC championship series with a win in the second game after dropping the opener.
Game 1: York 14, Salisbury 0 (5 inn.)
The third-seeded Spartans had the bats going throughout both games on Saturday, but were pounding the ball throughout their five chances to bat in the first game, beginning with seven runs in the first inning on six hits, including a pinch-hit grand slam by Savannah Galati.
York scored in each of its five at-bats, scoring once in the second and adding three in the third for an 11-0 lead, which was plenty for starting pitcher Ginger Lewis.
Ramagnano's brief trip to second base, where she was stranded following a groundout, was the only Sea Gull in scoring position in the game as just three reached base against Lewis, who struck out three in the game.
Game 2: Salisbury 9, York 5
The Spartans, playing as the home team in the second game, came back with Lewis in the circle and the second-seeded Sea Gulls loaded the bases in the first, but could not push a run across.
The Sea Gulls (27-11) got on the board in the top of the second after another Ramagnano walk when Collins sent a two-out triple to left-center field, but the Spartans brought home three runs in the bottom of the second on four hits.
The 3-1 Spartan lead disappeared in the top of the third when Salisbury got a leadoff home run from Annie Pietanza and scored its third run thanks to a York throwing error, tying the game 3-3.
The game remained tied until the sixth inning. Salisbury pushed two runs home in the top of the inning, getting a Pietanza double with two outs, but the Spartans (26-15-1) answered with two of their own in the home half. After a pair of hits to start the inning, Joanna Marmo sent a single to center field, tying the game at 5-5.
The final offensive push belonged to the home team in the top of the seventh. Salisbury came up with three hits started by a single up the middle from Madeira Alexander. After a sacrifice bunt moved her into scoring position, an infield single by Fraley and a walk loaded the bases from Amelia Trotter.
Trotter battled Lewis to a full count before spoiling two pitches and then drawing a walk to bring home the go-ahead run. Ramagnano followed with one of her two hits on the day – a two-run double to left-center field – and the final run of the inning was on a groundout by Collins for a 9-5 lead before the Sea Gulls gave the ball back to Milligan to finish off the win.
Milligan walked one and hit another batter to start the bottom of the seventh, but the defense of Ramagnano in right field helped punch Salisbury's ticket to the championship series. Shyla Pastore sent a line drive down into right field, which Ramagnano charged and made the catch on, but Ashley Meekins attempted to advance to third base on the play. Ramagnano fired a one-hop throw to Trotter at third, who took the throw on the home plate side and applied the tag for the double play.
The next batter sent a single up the middle, but Ramagnano again charged the play and fired to Trotter as Werner attempted to go first-to-third on the play and the second outfield assist of the inning ended the game. Ramagnano has now recorded five outfield assists this year.
Pietanza and Alexander each had three hits in the game, while Collins and Ramagnano each had two as the Sea Gulls came up with 13 hits against Lewis in the second game.
Milligan struck out three as she earned her second win of the weekend against York and her 10th victory of the season.
The Sea Gulls will now head south for the CAC championship weekend at top-seeded Christopher Newport University next Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5. The best-of-three series gets underway with game 1 on Friday at 4 p.m., with the second and potential third game on Saturday. The Captains needed two games to earn their win on Saturday, falling to Frostburg State University, 10-8, before rebounding with a 6-0 victory to move on.