SALEM, Va. — Call them the “Comeback Kids.” Melissa Soroka’s bunt forced a Salisbury error that scored Janelle Brey with the winning run as Moravian knocked off the Sea Gulls 6-5 in 11 innings at the NCAA Division III National Championship Saturday.
It was the second straight extra-inning affair for both teams, as Moravian (39-4) rallied from a five-run deficit Friday to knock off Chapman and Salisbury (39-7) needed 11 frames to defeat Alma a day earlier.
Following Saturday’s opening game between Chapman and Alma that went 14 innings, the contest marks the fourth extra-inning contest of the tournament, the most in one tournament in NCAA Division III championship history.
The Sea Gulls jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the first four innings off Moravian starter Donna Weiner. Leslie White, who went 4-for-6 with two RBIs, put Salisbury on the board in the first with a single to center that scored Rosie Aley. Gill then hit a single over Weiner’s head to plate Erin Ruest and give the Sea Gulls a 2-0 lead.
After extending the lead in the third with a White double to left, they tacked on another run in the fourth on a throwing error by Moravian’s Janelle Brey that scored Kim Rementer.
The Greyhounds bounced back in the home half of the fourth with a pair of runs that cut the lead in half. Lauren Homa (3-for-5, RBI), the hero in Friday’s win over Chapman, singled to center field to plate LeeAnna Roberts. Jessica Esposito followed Homa with a double that scored Danielle Carrione.
Salisbury extended its lead back to three in the fifth as another error by Brey allowed Rementer to reach and scored Megan Ellzy, who entered to run after Ruest doubled.
Facing another deficit heading into the late innings, Moravian answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Homa singled and walks were issued to Krissy Cianfichi and Jessica Esposito, Heather Bortz delivered a two-out single that cleared the bases just before Bortz was thrown out trying to take third following a fielding error by Ellzy in right field.
Weiner gave way to Meagan Hennessy, while Ruest, who faced three batters in relief of Lacey Lister, gave way to Lister in the late innings as both sophomores battled the opposition’s offenses until the deciding Moravian half of the 11th.
Lister took the loss as she went nine and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs, four earned, on 10 hits with six strikeouts. Hennessy allowed just three hits over the final five innings to pick up the win for the Greyhounds.
Salisbury drops into the loser’s bracket to face Wheaton Sunday at Noon EDT. Moravian advances to play the winner of Saturday’s nightcap between Muskingum and St. Thomas.