38-6 is no guarantee to Salisbury's Knight

Softball's No. 2 Sea Gulls `can't assume anything'

State notebook

Colleges

May 13, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

So now second-ranked Salisbury is in the driver's seat in the NCAA's eight-team Division III World Series in softball, right?

Wrong, said Salisbury coach Margie Knight as she prepared for the bus ride to Salem, Va., for the Sea Gulls' 1:30 p.m. opener tomorrow against third-ranked Alma (Mich.), which is 39-7.

Knight said that despite top-ranked East Texas Baptist's elimination by Linfield of Oregon in the West Regional, "There are seven other very strong teams coming to Salem. We can't assume anything. ... We have to play Alma right away and they're obviously very good."

However, Knight doesn't want to portray her 38-6 team as any kind of underdog in the double-elimination tournament.

She has one of the top pitchers in the nation in sophomore Lacey Lister, who has a 28-2 record and 0.53 ERA.

Lister is coming off a spectacular, four-game effort in the Salisbury regional last weekend, throwing three shutouts, allowing one run in 30 innings and compiling a 0.23 ERA. The one run she allowed came in a 1-0 loss to Rutgers-Camden.

The Sea Gulls' pitching staff has registered 24 shutouts this season and the team carries a .349 batting average - third best in the nation among Division III schools. Salisbury has averaged 6.2 runs a game.

"I'd say our chances are pretty good," Knight said. "We're coming off a pressure-filled weekend in which Lacey out-dueled arguably one of the best pitchers in the country [Michelle Schlichtig of Rutgers-Camden] twice. That's three out of four times Lacey has beat Schlichtig this season."

Lister pitched a two-hit, 3-0 victory over Schlichtig in last Monday's regional championship game, with all three runs scoring on first baseman Rosie Aley's bases-clearing double in the seventh inning.

Aley finished as the leading hitter in the regional tournament with a .600 average and five RBIs in four games.

Lister, Aley, catcher Kim Rementer, third baseman Leslie White and Nicole Fuqua were Salisbury players named to the all-tournament team.

Knight said: "We have power all the way down to the eighth spot in our order and we're playing well right now. We have a lot of confidence going for us after beating Rutgers-Camden."

Teeing it up

Three state schools - Towson, Maryland and Loyola - have earned berths in the 81-team NCAA Division I men's golf championships.

Play will begin May 20-22 with 54-hole competitions in regional tournaments at Yale, Purdue, and Portland.

A total of 27 teams and six individuals were selected for each regional, with the top 10 teams and two individuals in each regional advancing to the championship finals June 1-4 at the Cascades course at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.

Towson, led by junior Billy Wingerd, freshmen Alex Brueggeman and Jeff Castle, and senior captain Josh Spreng, is seeded 21st in the East Regional at Yale.

Maryland has the No. 23 seed in the East. Navy's celebrated Billy Hurley is No. 2 among the six individuals in the East.

Loyola, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion, is the No. 26 seed in the West Regional in Portland, Ore. The Greyhounds are counting on T.J. Stuart, Will Shriver, Jeff O'Brien, and Scott Zielinski to lead them.

"I like our draw," said Loyola coach Tom Beidleman. "The golf course at the Sunriver Resort is more suited to our squad than the regional sites out East."

Et cetera

Navy's Hurley is one of five finalists for the 2004 Byron Nelson Award, having finished in the top 10 31 times in the 50 collegiate tournaments he has played in the past four years.

Junior volleyball setter Mary Clare Coghlan and senior swimmer Aaron Krause have been named Towson's Female and Male Athletes of the Year.

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