SALISBURY, Md. -- Hitting that helped to steer Virginia Wesleyan College to a decisive 11-1 five-inning victory over McDaniel College in an NCAA Division III tournament opener on Friday, eluded the Marlins in the second game against host Salisbury University.
Virginia Wesleyan connected for just three hits in a 4-0 loss that gives the host team an edge heading into Saturday's showdown to determine which team will head into a super regional at Christopher Newport University. No. 10 Virginia Wesleyan (30-7) will face No. 4 Salisbury (32-6) at 11 a.m. A win by the Marlins will force a deciding game at 1:30 p.m.
The Marlins started off well Friday, scoring twice in the first inning against McDaniel's Green Terror, the Centennial Conference champion. Kayla Malkos (Roanoke/Cave Spring) and Blake Henderson (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) both hit doubles in the inning. VWC pulled away in the third, scoring seven runs off five hits. Rookie Cassety Howerin (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney) homered down the left field line and Malkos smacked a two-run triple late in the inning.
Overall, the Marlins recorded 10 hits off McDaniel pitcher Caroline Brehm (Hanover, Pa./New Oxford), the two-time Centennial Conference Pitcher of the Year. Brehm entered the tournament with a 0.96 earned run average, but faced a VWC team that entered the event ranked sixth nationally with a team batting average of .382.
Henderson led the Marlins' hitting in the opener with a 3-for-3 showing, highlighted by a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Malkos finished at 2-for-3, and five other Marlins recorded a hit each.
While Brehm took the loss and finished the season with a 23-7 record, senior Kristina Karagiorgis (Ashburn/Briarwoods) recorded the win and improved to 16-4. She worked the first three innings, struck out three batters, and gave up three hits. Senior Mary Shipp (Virginia Beach/First Colonial) pitched the final two innings, struck out four and allowed just one hit.
McDaniel's loss to the Marlins ended the tournament for the Green Terror, which lost 4-0 to Salisbury in Friday's first game.
Virginia Wesleyan started off with three hits against the Sea Gulls, all in the first two innings, but that's where the hitting stopped for the Marlins. Salisbury recorded nine hits overall and did all of its scoring in the first two innings as well.
Rookie Kiersten Richardson (Richmond/Glen Allen) belted a double to lead Marlin hitting in the second game. Courtney Bogan (Round Hill/Woodgrove) and Malkos added a single each. Kim Dorsey led SU with three singles.
Karagiorgis fell to 16-4 with the pitching loss. She struck out three batters and walked one. Winning pitcher Rachel Johnson improved to 23-5 for Salisbury, striking out five and walking none.