Salisbury and Alma each had to fight off elimination in the 11th and decisive game to earn spots in the 2004 NCAA Division III national tournament this week in Salem, Va.
Salisbury, last season’s national runner-up and regional host, fell 1-0 to Rutgers-Camden Sunday, but bounced back Monday to take a 3-0 win over RCU behind a two-hit shutout from Lacey Lister and Rosie Aley’s bases-loaded double in the top of the seventh.
Alma also had to fight to get out of its own regional. After falling to the University of Chicago 1-0 in Sunday’s opening game, the Scots rallied back to knock off Augustana and set up a rematch with Chicago in the finals. Having to knock off Chicago twice, Alma got a stellar complete-game showing from Leigh Ann LaFave to force the deciding game. In the finale, Melissa Tavidian hurled the Scots into a spot in Salem with a nine-inning shutout, while Laura Rochon plated the winning run on a single by Laura Bell.
After going the distance in their respective regionals, Salisbury and Alma will face each other in the opening round of the national tournament that gets underway Fri., May 14 at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex. Second-seeded St. Thomas, who has won 37 straight games, plays Cortland State in the opening round, while Muskingum plays Wheaton (Mass.) and top-seeded Chapman opens with Moravian.