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The Blue & Gray Press | February 23, 2018

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Salisbury Spoils Softball’s Senior Day

The University of Mary Washington’s softball team’s Senior Day ended on a sore note as the Eagles dropped a pair to 15th ranked Salisbury University. UMW lost the first game to the visiting Sea Gulls 3-0 and fell 3-2 in the second game.

“I think our team performed our best of the season against Salisbury,” graduating senior Kim Olinger said. “We knew Salisbury was going to be our toughest competition in the CAC and we were ready to play our best. Everyone was putting everything we had into this game and leaving everything on the field that day.”

UMW would hold the Salisbury offense at bay early in the opener, as sophomore pitcher Danielle Cunetta surrendered just one hit in the first three innings of play. However, the Sea Gulls offense would not be held down much longer, as Salisbury started the scoring in the fourth inning with junior catcher Taylor Webb crossing the plate on a sacrifice by fellow junior Kristin Lord.

Salisbury would tack on two more runs in the sixth inning on a RBI single by freshman Michelle Gravdahl that brought both runs home. The single pushed the Salisbury advantage to 3-0 and caused a pitching change for UMW, as Cunetta was pulled in favor of freshman pitcher Annie Blaine. Cunetta had a solid performance but eventually took the loss. She allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 5.1 innings of work. Blaine would close out the inning by inducing a big ground ball double play to keep the game within reach. Blaine pitched the rest of the game and was very effective in relief: she allowed no runs and didn’t allow a base runner in her 1.2 innings on the mound.

Both teams struggled at the plate in the opener. Mary Washington was just 4 for 25 and Salisbury wasn’t much better at 5 for 22. The key difference was that the Sea Gulls were able to take advantage of their opportunities with runners on base and thus were able to scrape across three runs despite only having five hits. Salisbury pitcher Kelly Leary was masterful in her 7 innings, giving up just four hits and no runs while striking out nine Eagle batters. UMW’s four hits were all singles and came from four different players: freshman Brandee Adams, sophomores Elizabeth Crowe and Katie Sterling, and senior Kaitlin Petrella.

The second game was another close battle, but the Eagles fell once again as Salisbury narrowly edged UMW in the nightcap 3-2.

Blaine continued to pitch in the second game after appearing in relief in game one. She pitched all seven innings in game two, but took the loss as she allowed thee runs on 10 hits with a pair of strikeouts. The Eagles picked it up offensively late in the second game, as they mounted a rally to score two late runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the bases loaded with nobody out. But in the end, UMW came up a little short as they couldn’t get the tying run across the plate. The Eagles finished with two runs on seven hits in the game while Salisbury had three runs on 10 hits.

Before the game UMW honored two seniors, Kaitlin Petrella and Kim Olinger. Each were contributors as both had two hits in the games.

“Senior day was both a happy and sad day for me,” Olinger said. “But these past four years playing softball at UMW I have made some of the best friends and they have been the best years of my life.”

“Our two seniors will be missed,” Head Coach Dee Conway said. “Both have contributed so much to the program—their leadership, on field work and simply by being good people.”

With the two losses, the Eagles fall to 8-24-1 overall and 6-6 in CAC play. Mary Washington played Hood College in the first round of the CAC tournament last night, and the Lady Eagles knocked off the Blazers 6-2.