By JAMIR WILSON
The first game played in the brand new Sea Gull Softball Stadium resulted in a 5-3 victory over Clarkson University for the Gulls. Salisbury found themselves in a battle against a program they defeated 8-0 twice at the same Sea Gull Classic in 2016.
After going completely hitless for four innings and falling behind 1-0, the Sea Gulls finally gained life when sophomore infielder Amelia Trotter registered solid contact on a pitch to earn a single.
Freshman Brooke Yerger came in to pinch run for Trotter and was then brought home after junior left fielder Leanne Collins knocked the ball into the outfield.
Clarkson quickly took momentum back after freshman infielder Michele Winn blasted a home run over the left center wall, bringing their lead to 3-1.
Clarkson’s ace pitcher Jamie Bridge brought her A-game for five-straight innings, leaving the Sea Gull batters confused and shaken up. It was not until the bottom of the sixth inning when Salisbury finally figured out the puzzle.
SU freshman Mikayla Meehan started off the inning with a double to left center. Junior Annie Pietanza drew a walk for her at-bat and later advanced to second on a wild pitch. This set up centerfielder Caitlin Lake perfectly to deliver the shot the Sea Gulls needed; Lake absolutely crushed Bridge’s pitch and placed it over the newly built outfield wall. Trotter wanted to join in on the homerun party, blasting a pitch over the exact part of the wall Lake did just one batter before.
“Back-to-back homers, that’s awesome, and we knocked out a very good pitcher,” SU head coach Margie Knight said. “It was good to see that we kept going at them, and we figured out a way to be successful.”
Back-to-back home runs gave the Sea Gulls a healthy 5-3 lead, which is all the pitching staff needed to shut Clarkson’s chances down.
“It tells you the grit that we’re made of and we’re going to continue to battle back no matter what the situation is,” coach Knight said.
Starting pitcher Shannon Powell finished the day only giving up two earned runs in 5.2 innings of work. Powell sat five Clarkson batters down on strikes. Sophomore pitcher Brooke Mizelle, who was credited with the win, came in to relieve Powell during the top of the fifth, only giving up one hit in her appearance.
“I just come in there, try to get three outs and finish up the game,” Mizelle said. “I think the other pitchers did well today, and I just did my job.”
The Sea Gulls did not register many hits against Clarkson, but they made each one count. Three out of the five hits by the Sea Gulls resulted in runs batted in.
Trotter led the way for Salisbury, recording two hits, which included the solo homerun. Leanne Collins made her impact felt at the plate as well as in the outfield. She made a catch running up from her position and then throwing to first to complete a double play.
Errors have haunted the Sea Gulls early in the season so it was a positive for them to have none against Clarkson.
The opening win in their new home stadium moves the Sea Gulls up to 3-4 on the season, that much closer to .500.