After a strong first day showing, Salisbury University (5-1) finished the Salisbury Softball Tournament with Clarkson University (2-1) and Washington College (1-3) on Sunday eyeing an undefeated weekend.
Securing two victories on the first day, the Sea Gulls carried a lot of momentum into Sunday.
Game One: Salisbury 3, Clarkson 1
After a quick first inning which only saw sophomore catcher Madeira Alexander reach base via a walk, Salisbury got on the board in the second with sophomore outfielder Sami Mumford continuing a strong Saturday performance.
An RBI fielder's choice put SU on the board in a game where offense would not come as easily as it did a day prior.
The Sea Gulls were knocking on the doorstep in the third with some sneaky base running by junior shortstop Dakotah Fraley.
Fraley evaded four tags by the Golden Knights on a fielder's choice by freshman outfielder Jillian Jones to reach third base safely. Jones reached first and moved on to second while the defense focused on Fraley.
“I was really trying to draw the short stop a little so she wouldn’t throw or at least look at me to give [Jones] time to get to first and went a little too far probably," Fraley said. "But it ended up working out in the end for me."
The plan worked short-term, but Clarkson's defense made up for the blunder retiring the next two batters to strand a couple runners in scoring position and keep the deficit at one.
The Gulls were able to find small cracks of life offensively through Fraley and junior third baseman Kaleigh Edwards. Solo home runs in the fifth and sixth, from Fraley and Edwards respectively, pushed the lead to 3-0 and gave SU pitchers a little breathing room.
The only offensive production for Clarkson came with a solo home run from freshman Olivia Zoeller to break up the shutout in the seventh.
That did not shake senior starter Alexis Layton, as she got the final out to preserve Salisbury’s 3-1 win over Clarkson.
Layton threw a complete game, throwing strikes on 63 percent of her pitches while allowing only one run on five hits with three strikeouts. Though it was Layton's second complete game this season, it was her longest outing of the season.
“I really couldn’t do it without my team and their support," Layton said. "Definitely was very up feeling and honestly, without them behind me and without their bats, it wouldn’t have been achieved.”
Fraley and Edwards stepped up offensively going 2-4 and 3-3 respectively with Edwards contributing 2 runs and an RBI throughout the game. Outside of those two Gulls, the offense went 1-19 and left seven runners on base.
“I think it’s staying calm in those situations and executing when need be,” Edwards said.
Game Two: Salisbury 7, Washington College 6
Slow offense continued early against the Shorewomen as SU was stumped by junior starter Rachel Butler, in another relatively defensive game until the final six outs.
Though opportunities were there, Butler and the Shorewomen would strand four Sea Gulls on base throughout the first three innings.
Washington got off to their best start at the plate all weekend with an RBI single in the first from sophomore catcher Chrissy Segrest and a two-RBI double from Butler in the third to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
As for the pitching, the Shorewomen did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when Edwards got things going with a leadoff infield single.
An RBI groundout by Mumford brought Edwards in to score, putting Salisbury on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a 3-1 score, though SU left another runner sitting at third base to end the inning.
The Sea Gulls looked poised to keep cutting into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning. With runners at second and third with two outs and a need for taking advantage of opportunities, the Shorewomen won the battle as an Edwards groundout helped them escape the jam.
It was the sixth inning that the Sea Gulls broke through and chased Butler from the game.
Senior outfielder Cat Ramagnano was the last straw for Butler, as her RBI single scored freshman second baseman Kendall Dixon and allowed Mumford to move over to second. Senior Maddie Bennett came in relief to try and maintain the two run lead for the Shorewomen, but the bats did not stop there.
Fraley’s two-RBI double gave the Sea Gulls their first lead of the day after Ramagnano and Mumford came across to score.
“I was thinking to refresh, stay clear. A new pitcher came in and all I knew was I was looking for a shot to the outfield to let [Ramagnano and Mumford] advance," Fraley said. "I had two fast people on, so I knew if I put it out there, they’d come in.”
The Sea Gulls offense would pour on three more runs to claim a 7-3 lead heading into the seventh inning.
“The team itself gives off really good vibes during the whole game and it really puts a clear mind and it makes it easy," Fraley said. "It makes you want to hit, and it makes you really focus in, and I think that was the biggest thing was just focusing and knowing that we needed the runs and you had to come up big."
The Shorewomen would not go quietly though, as their offense looked for a response in the top half of the seventh.
With a single and a double to lead off the inning, freshman outfielder Alyssa Vieira's infield single brought in the first run of the inning. Sophomore outfielder Brittany Walker joined in with a two-RBI single to put the tying run on third.
Senior Shannon Powell, who came in as a reliever in the fourth, stayed strong through the testy seventh and came out on top of the battle, getting a groundout to end the game and finish off the Gulls' fourth win in two days.
“It’s a team effort,” Edwards said. “I think everyone contributed in everything. Everybody had great energy.”
The Sea Gulls, now 7-1 on the year, are scheduled to head out on the road Tuesday for the first time this season to take on the defending DIII National Champion and No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan University (5-0).
“We’re ready to go on the road, I think travel will be good for us,” head coach Margie Knight said. “We’re psyched to play the number-one team in the country, but we’re going to enjoy these victories today and from this weekend.”
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: Lilly Wingo flips the ball to Emily Allen at first for an out against Clarkson University. March 3 (KB Mensah image).