SALISBURY, Md. – The Ursinus College softball team won the first game and had a seventh inning rally fall just short in the second game of Saturday's entertaining doubleheader at Salisbury.
Ursinus (5-7) receiving solid relief pitching from freshman Kayla McTamney in both ends of the twin bill. The rookie kept the Sea Gulls (10-7) off balance out of the bullpen. She worked six relief innings on the day before surrendering a run; McTamney totaled 7 1/3 innings and three runs (two earned), yielding just one free pass while striking out seven.
In the first game, McTamney protected a one-run lead across three scoreless innings to pick up her first save in relief. In the second game, the newcomer tossed three more scoreless frames before Salisbury broke through the goose eggs.
Sophomore Heather Lazer contributed two-hit games in both tilts. The second baseman blasted her second career home run in the opener. Fellow sophomore Megan Hasulak had a perfect 4-for-4 showing with two RBI and run in the final game.
Game 1: Ursinus 6, Salisbury 5
In a game that swapped leads multiple times, the Bears scored two runs in the fifth to take a 6-5 lead and protected the one-run edge with strong relief pitching by McTamney.
McTamney fired three scoreless innings with three strikeouts to record her first career save. The rookie got the call from the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth inning after the Bears regained the upper hand. In the final frame, the Sea Gulls had runners on first and second with the tying run on second with two outs, but McTamney slammed the door when she fielded a grounder to end the game.
Down 5-4, back-to-back infield singles by Comfort and senior Gabrielle Manto set the table for a big fifth inning. Sophomore Amanda Ladzinski reached on a fielder's choice bunt before McTamney knocked in Comfort. Donato's slap chopper back to the pitcher was too difficult to field, scoring Manto to regain the lead, 6-5.
In the opening frame, the Bears worked a pair of two-out walks before Comfort singled down the right-field line to plate Lazer with the game's first run. Comfort went 2-for-3 in the game with an RBI and a run.
Salisbury's Dakotah Fraley homered to left to start the bottom half of the first, and the Sea Gulls threatened for more with the bases loaded but junior pitcher Jennifer Hammons worked her way out of it as she struck out three in the inning. Salisbury loaded the bases in the second, which started with a one-out ground rule double. A walk and hit by pitch was followed by a single to left by Emily Allen to give the Sea Gulls a 2-1 lead.
Ursinus scored two runs in the third inning to get the lead back. Lazer blasted a leadoff homer to left to knot the game, and senior Kayla Quinn backed up Lazer with a triple to center before she scored on a throwing error by the catcher.
In the fourth, Lazer doubled in Donato to give the Bears a 4-2 edge.
The Sea Gulls plated three in the bottom half of the fourth to go up 5-4.
Hammons (2-4) went four innings, yielding five runs on seven hits, five walks and struck out five in the victory.
Game 2: Salisbury 7, Ursinus 6
Down 7-4 entering the seventh inning, the Bears scored two runs on Manto's two-run single but stranded the tying run at third base.
Hasulak got the ball rolling toward a last-ditch rally, picked up her fourth hit to chase the starting pitcher. On the first pitch from the new reliever, Lazer sent an opposite-field double to right.
Quinn singled home both Hasulak and Lazer to get the Bears within a run. Quinn, the potential game-tying run, moved up to second on a fielding error by the center fielder and then scooted up to third thanks to a passed ball. Baker grounded to third to end the rally.
The Sea Gulls scored three in the first inning courtesy of back-to-back home runs by Emily Allen and Kaleigh Edwards. Salisbury plated a run in the second to go up 4-0.
The Bears cut the Sea Gulls' lead in half in the third. Hasulak singled up the middle to score Ladzinsk and Lazer continued her hot day, singling in senior Samantha Garritano.
Ursinus scored two unearned runs to tie the game at 4 in the fourth. A Salisbury error allowed senior Faith Carson to reach with one down. With two outs, Garritano singled to right field to score Carson. Hasulak followed that with a RBI hit of her own.
Salisbury's Kira Konarski drove a two-run double into the left center field to take a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth. The Sea Gulls couldn't solve McTamney's mound brilliance until Konarski's game-winning hit. McTamney logged six scoreless innings before the gapper.
The Sea Gulls put an important insurance run on the board in the sixth. McTamney did her best rendition of a Houdini act to escape a bases loaded no-out jam without further damage. The righty got the tough luck loss in her 4 1/3 innings of work, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, no walks and striking out four.
Manto joined Lazer with two hits.
Ursinus hosts a doubleheader against Eastern on Tuesday.