SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University softball team will begin play in the Capital Athletic Conference championship series on Friday, May 4 at Christopher Newport University. The game will begin at 4 p.m.
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Friday's game marks the first game in a best-of-three series to determine the conference champion. The second game will begin at noon on Saturday, May 5 with the third game, if necessary, to be played following Saturday's game, at approximately 2 p.m.
How We Got Here
The Sea Gulls (27-11) earned the No. 2 seed in the CAC tournament with an 11-3 record in league play, allowing Salisbury to host opening weekend action in the tournament. Salisbury won its first two games against fifth-seeded University of Mary Washington and third-seeded York College of Pennsylvania in the double-elimination pod. On the second day, Salisbury took its first loss in 13 games falling to York before coming back to beat the Spartans 9-5 in the winner-take-all game to advance to the championship weekend.
How They Got Here
After earning the top seed in the CAC field with a 13-1 regular season mark in the CAC, the eighth-ranked Captains (33-7) had a similar opening weekend in the tournament to Salisbury. CNU topped sixth-seeded Penn State University-Harrisburg and fourth-seeded Frostburg State University on Friday before falling in the first game on Saturday to Frostburg. But the Captains bounced back with a 6-0 win in the final game against the Bobcats to advance.
The teams have met 77 times dating back to the 1989 season, with the Captains holding a narrow 39-36-2 edge in the all-time series. In games played in Newport News, Virginia, Christopher Newport holds an 18-12-1 advantage. The teams got together at CNU exactly one month ago, on April 4, with the home team getting the doubleheader sweep. The Captains won the opener 8-0 before taking the nightcap 5-3. In the second game, Salisbury held a 3-1 lead late, but four runs in the bottom of the sixth allowed Christopher Newport to come from behind for the win.
Scouting the Captains
The Captains enter the weekend with two of the top pitchers in the CAC, Aubrey Bates and Laura Kate Moss, who have combined for a 24-6 record in 2018. Bates leads the CAC with a 1.92 ERA while Moss is third with a 2.37 ERA. Bates also ranks third in the league with 88 strikeouts. Offensively, the Captains lead the CAC with 315 runs scored while belting 38 home runs. Patty Maye Ohanian leads the conference with a .481 batting average and 54 RBI. Three of the top six batting averages in the league are CNU players, with Rachael Payne fifth with her .441 and Liz Andrews is sixth with her .429 average.
In The Books
Senior LeAnne Collins has played in, and started, nearly every game during her four-year career and has been climbing the record books through this season, and putting her name at the top of one. Collins currently appears in the top five in three Salisbury records, and has taken the top spot in career triples, coming up with 18 three-baggers in her time in maroon and gold. Collins also stands fifth in career hits with 231, and fourth in runs scored having crossed home safely 163 times.
The winner of this weekend's series will be the CAC champion and will earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The tournament selections will be announced on Monday, May 7 with the play beginning on Thursday, May 10.