By JAMIR WILSON
The Salisbury softball team returned to the diamond in defeat for the first game of a doubleheader against Averett University 11-2 Tuesday.
“We didn’t have the pitching performances like we had in the second game today,” SU head coach Margie Knight said. “Not being able to hit our spots in the first game, we’ll go back and work on that.”
After a first inning that showed both teams scoring one run, Averett’s offense took flight with three runs scored in the second inning.
“They got three quick runs—they’re very fast, so they used their speed to take advantage to move the base runners up and got a key hit,” coach Knight said.
AU senior infielder Jessica Long knocked a double to left center, bringing home three. Long finished the game with three hits and six runs batted in (RBI).
AU freshman catcher Casey Cook performed well for the blue and gold, going 2-for-2 and registering two RBIs. Sophomore third baseman Andrea Grant homered to left field in the top of the third inning.
“I still think that we have a ton of work to do, but I think we’re a really talented team,” SU junior outfielder LeAnne Collins said. “You can see the improvement we had between the two games and I think we’re going to have a good end to the season.”
Pitching is a constant struggle for the Sea Gulls so far in this young season. The struggles continued in the first game against Averett.
SU junior pitcher Rachael Milligan started the game on the mound for the maroon and gold, but had a hard time retiring batters. Milligan gave up five hits in two innings of work, walked three batters and suffered six earned runs.
SU sophomore pitcher Brooke Mizelle came in to relieve Milligan but shared the same troubles in her appearance. Averett got five hits and scored five runs off of Mizelle in three innings.
The Sea Gull offense uncharacteristically struggled at the plate. Only three players registered a hit with junior infielder Annie Pietanza leading the way with two hits and one RBI.
“I think we put ourselves in a pretty tough situation. We weren’t communicating as much as we normally do, but towards the end we started coming together [and] talking a lot more,” SU freshman catcher Emily Allen said.
Averett piled on the runs in the fifth inning, tacking on five more runs to build their lead to 10, and activating the eight-run-after-five-innings mercy rule. The game concluded two innings short of the normal regulation.
The Sea Gulls moved to 4-7 on the season while Averett moved to 10-9 in 2017. Heading into the second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Salisbury attempted to change their tale to get a much needed win to approach closer to a .500 record.