EWING, N.J. – The Salisbury University softball team began play in the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon, needing extra innings before coming away with a 3-2 win against No. 8 Moravian College.
The Sea Gulls (29-13) started the right way with senior LeAnne Collins leading off the game by turning on a pitch for a solo home run to right field and a 1-0 Salisbury lead.
The one run was all that came across home plate through the first four innings with Moravian's Josie Novak escaping a two-out jam in the third inning. After a walk by Dakotah Fraley and Annie Pietanza doubling to left-center field, Novak recorded her sixth strikeout to that point to get out of the bind.
Salisbury starter Rachael Milligan was not tested like that until after her team had given her another run, bringing home an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning. Salisbury loaded the bases in the fifth on a Cat Ramagnano walk and a Fraley single just beyond the reach of the diving second baseman up the middle before Madeira Alexander was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Kristen Yanarella drove a ball to the left side, which the Greyhound third baseman could not handle and Yanarella raced to first to beat out the recovery throw reaching on the error, allowing Ramagnano to score for the 2-0 lead.
Moravian (32-6) would draw even in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting a pair of one-out singles before Milligan got a ground out for the second out of the inning. But Shannon Brogan came up with a two-run single down the right field live to draw even.
Milligan left Brogan on base and retired the final seven Greyhound batters in the game, allowing the Salisbury bats to come through in the eighth inning for the win.
With one out in the top of the eighth Sami Mumford got things going with a bunt single and advanced when Amelia Trotter was hit by a pitch. The pair moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before Mumford came home when Ramagnano singled to right-center field for the 3-2 lead.
Miligan rolled through the bottom of the eighth in just 11 pitches to finish of the win. She gave up just five hits to the Greyhounds and walked one while striking out a career-high nine batters.
With the win, Salisbury moves into the winners' bracket, taking on Johnson & Wales (R.I.) University on Saturday morning after the Wildcats knocked off No. 22 The College of New Jersey, 3-1. The winners' bracket game will begin at 10 a.m., moved up one hour from the original schedule due to possible weather issues in the afternoon.