The Gannon University softball team had a strong showing at the Salem Invitational in Salem, Va., over the weekend, as the Knights walked away with three wins out of the four games played.
Gannon defeated the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, 7-3, Davis & Elkins, 5-3, and Bowie State University, 4-1, and fell to Tiffin University, 4-1. The last game of the invitational against Glenville State College was canceled because of poor weather.
Gannon improved to 10-5 on the season going into Saturday’s 1 p.m. scheduled doubleheader against Point Park University in Pittsburgh.
The Knights opened up in Salem Friday by beating USciences, thanks in large part to a first-inning grand slam from Kellyn Perich.
The first four batters reached for Gannon and Kherrin Morgan drove home a run with a base hit. After a pair of strikeouts, Perich followed with her grand slam, increasing Gannon’s lead to 5-0.
USciences pushed across a single run off Gannon starter Olivia Gumbita in the second inning but managed only two more runs the rest of the way.
Gumbita allowed six hits while walking five and striking out nine in her seven-inning complete- game win.
After USciences scored in the second, Gannon came back strong in the fourth with a leadoff single by Perich, and Jackie Martinez lined a single to score Perich.
Martinez went 2 for 3 for the Knights, who added another run in the seventh. Morgan also finished with two hits and drove in two runs for Gannon.
In Friday’s second game, the Knights outhit Tiffin 7-3, but the winners took advantage of two Gannon errors to score three unearned runs off Perich, who went the distance and gave up three hits and one walk while striking out four.
Perich and Taylor Wilp each had two hits for the Knights, who scored their only run on a bases-loaded walk to Rachel Tanilli in the sixth inning.
Gannon rebounded with a pair of wins Saturday. Davis & Elkins opened with two runs in the first inning off starter Madi Beining but the Knights responded in the top of the second when Tanilli hit her first home run of the season.
Davis & Elkins got the run back in the bottom of the second and the game remained 2-1 until Gannon tied the score in the top of the fifth on Wilp’s RBI single.
Allie Salerno singled to begin the inning, and Martinez got a base hit. Wilp then followed with her RBI single to score Salerno.
The Knights pulled ahead in the sixth with a four-hit, three-run inning. Wilp capped the inning with a double that plated Salerno and Sarah Ingerick, who had reached on an RBI single.
With Gannon in the lead, 5-3, Gumbita finished the game by getting the final six outs. Beining had a strong game, pitching five innings, allowing three runs and striking out three.
In Saturday’s second game, against Bowie State, the two teams were scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Gannon erupted for three runs.
Gumbita started on the mound but ran into trouble as the Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs in the third. But Gumbita came back and pitched her way out of trouble without giving up a run.
Gannon finally moved in front in the fifth on an unearned run and Martinez drove in Salerno and Ingerick with a base hit.
Bowie scored its only run off Gumbita in the top of the sixth, but Gannon got the run back.
Gumbita gave up seven hits, three walks and struck out seven in six innings. Perich came on to retire the side in the seventh and earn her first save of the season.