Updated: Feb 20, 2019
Sea Gull Softball Stadium hosted a three-game tournament on Sunday, with the University of Rochester (0-2) and No. 18 The College of New Jersey (0-0) coming to town.
The Sea Gulls began their day against Rochester in the first game, who they swept in a double-header on Friday. After TCNJ and Rochester faced off in the second game, Salisbury took on the ranked TCNJ Lions in the final game.
The Gulls fell behind early after a solo home run by first-year Alizah Ayon to put the Rochester Yellowjackets up 1-0. SU looked to respond quickly in the bottom of the first when freshman pitcher Jillian Jones doubled to left center field.
Despite a wild pitch allowing Jones to advance to third base, the Yellowjackets would get the final two outs to end the inning, still leading 1-0.
Both teams had multiple opportunities in the following three innings to score. But each defense held strong and prevented the other team from scoring until the Yellowjackets tacked on two runs in the top of the fifth to increase their lead to 3-0 over.
The Sea Gulls headed into the bottom of the seventh trailing, looking for last-minute magic.
Things started off the right way as senior first baseman Amelia Trotter doubled to lead off the inning. But strong pitching stranded Trotter in scoring position as Rochester picked up its first victory of the 2019 season over the Sea Gulls.
In the final game of the season, the Sea Gulls looked to get back in the win column and stay above .500 on the weekend.
First inning trouble plagued the Gulls once again as the Lions put up two early runs in the first.
This time, SU was able to respond early. The Sea Gulls scored two runs on four hits and a walk before TCNJ could record a single out. Sophomore Madeira Alexander and junior Kayleigh Edwards each had RBI singles that tied the game.
“After a not-so-expected morning against Rochester, we knew we needed to come back on fire, so we knew we had to be more aggressive at the plate and I think everyone [on our team] took that approach very well," senior outfielder Cat Ramagnano said.
The Lions were not able to salvage the inning as sophomore outfielder Sami Mumford was walked with the bases loaded, bringing in the go-ahead run, Alexander.
Ramagnano took advantage of her at bat as well with a two RBI single up the middle to bring Edwards and junior catcher Emily Allen around to score, increasing Salisbury’s lead to 5-2 after one inning.
“[Our team] just knew what we needed to do, and we knew we had to string hits together,” Allen said. “[TCNJ’s pitcher] was throwing inside pitches and a lot of us like inside [pitches], so we just thought that we’d jump on the ball and see if we could get ahead.”
Both teams would add a run before the fourth inning, pushing the score to 6-3, still in favor of SU.
The Lions looked threatening in the top of the fourth inning with bases loaded and one out. However, the opportunity was squandered as the Gulls escaped the inning unscathed maintaining their three-run lead.
Salisbury was able to get the final two outs to get out of the inning unscathed, still leading 6-3.
It was the top of the sixth that would prove to be the best opportunity for TCNJ, as sophomore Allie Immerso rocked a bases-loaded double into right center, making it a one-run deficit.
Freshman pitcher Jillian Jones came in from the outfield to pitch the top of the seventh inning and recorded her first save as Salisbury held on to defeat No. 18 TCNJ 6-5.
"We bent, but we didn’t break,” SU head coach Margie Knight said. Allen went 3-4 in the game leading the offense and securing CAC Player of the Week honors after her weekend performance. “A lot of communication, we were always talking the whole game,” Allen said. “Madeira [Alexander] was calling out every play, the infield was talking to the outfield and everyone knew what to do.”
Ramagnano had a team-leading two RBIs in the bottom of the first inning. The Sea Gulls' defense was helped by junior starting pitcher Alexis Layton and Jones to get out of tough predicaments with the lead intact after the first inning.
“[Our team] made adjustments within the field. We recognized the pattern in their lineup, and we adjusted accordingly.” Ramagnano said.
After winning three of their four games this weekend, the 3-1 Sea Gulls travel to Cary, North Carolina for the Grand Slam Triangle Classic this upcoming weekend.
“We’re going to take a day off and rest right now, because rest is most important,” Knight said. “Going into [next weekend] with four tough opponents and 3-1, we’re pretty happy right now.”
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: The Sea Gulls huddle together ahead of a matchuplast season against the University of Mary Washington (Emma Reider image).