Salisbury, MD.-Sophomore Molly Simpson delivered perhaps the biggest hit of her young career, bombing a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday, lifting the No. 4 Salisbury University to a 5-2 win over Penn State University Berks, and advancing them in the Division III Regional Tournament.
The Sea Gulls (36-3) got on the board in the second inning as sophomore Paige Knussman led off the frame with an infield single. Knussman would eventually advance to third before scoring on a Penn State Berks error.
Salisbury would make it 2-0 in the fifth when starting pitcher junior Rachel Johnson, in just her fourth at-bat of the year, helped her own cause sending a ball into the right-center gap, for a stand up triple. Three batters later, Johnson would score on sophomore Kim Dorsey's sacrifice fly to right field.
The Nittany Lions would even things up in the top of the sixth inning. After an infield single by Colleen Hoge, starting pitcher Casey Hafer helped her own cause in a big way, booming a two-out, two-run homer to left field. Johnson would strike out the next batter to end the inning, setting up Simpson's heroics in the bottom of the sixth.
Simpson came to the plate with junior Rebecca Hoey and senior Molly Gigioli already on. The sophomore took the first pitch before turning on the 0-and-1 pitch from Hafer, crushing a shot to left-centerfield, giving the Sea Gulls the 5-2 lead.
The shot made Salisbury starter Rachel Johnson the winning pitcher, surrendering just three hits while striking out 14. She closed out the game striking out the side in the seventh, finishing off her 16th complete game of the year.
The win advanced the Gulls advance into the winner's bracket in the NCAA Division III Salisbury Regional.