Meola

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Cortland State rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh inning and Amber Corrigan threw a four-hitter as the Red Dragons upset top-ranked Salisbury 2-1 to open play in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship on Friday.

The Red Dragons (33-15) will face either Luther at 5 p.m. ET Saturday in a winner’s bracket game. Salisbury (39-3) will play Anderson (Ind.) in an elimination game at noon ET Saturday.

Corrigan outdueled Salisbury starter Rachel Johnson and is now 19-5 on the season. Corrigan struck out two and walked five. Johnson fanned 13 batters and allowed five hits and two walks. She entered the game with a sparkling 26-1 record and 0.64 ERA.

Trailing 1-0, the Red Dragons started their go-ahead rally when Jamie Bucci drew a leadoff walk. Diane Cork followed with a single up the middle to extend her hitting streak to 14 games and advance Bucci to second. Lucia Meola then hit a double to left-center to drive in Bucci and put runners on second and third with no outs.

Johnson struck out the next batter for the first out, but Cassie Kardias hit a fly ball to left for a sacrifice fly that plated Cork with the lead run.

Salisbury threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Carly Read led off with a single and was bunted to second by Angelia McDowell. Corrigan got a flyout for the second out, but walked Sarah Alpaugh to put the potential winning run on base. A grounder to short, however, resulted in the game-ending forceout at second.

The Sea Gulls took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Lindsay McCabe walked, was bunted to second by Read and moved to third on a McDowell bunt. Harley Hill’s single up the middle drove in the run.

Cortland threatened in the second, third and fourth innings but couldn’t break through. Nicole Gallo hit a one-out double in the second but was stranded. In the third, Bucci reached on an error and moved to second on a Meola one-out single but went no farther. In the fourth, Gallo singled with one out, Barca was hit by a pitch with two outs and Bucci reached on an error to load the bases. Johnson, however, struck out Cork to end the threat.

Gallo and Meola each finished 2-for-3 for the Red Dragons, who had lost twice to Salisbury previously this season. Read was 1-for-2 and Alpaugh reached base three times on walks for Salisbury.

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