MILLINGTON, Tenn. – The second-seeded Salisbury University baseball team blew open a tight game with eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings, defeating third seed Millsaps College, 11-5, in the NCAA South Regional at USA Stadium on Thursday.
Seven Salisbury (32-7) players collected multiple hits and three had multiple RBIs as the Sea Gulls erased deficits of 2-1 after one inning and 3-2 after five, to advance to an 8 p.m., eastern time date with a team to be determined on Friday.
SU took the lead for good with a four-run sixth. Bill Root knotted the game, 3-3, with a single to right-center field with one out, scoring Bobby Sanzone, who had singled and moved to second on a balk. After Root stole second, Hayman singled through the right side to put runners on the corners and knock Millsaps starter Keith Shumaker off the mound.
Shumaker stayed in as the designated hitter, but Nick Gentry greeted new pitcher Zander Romano with an RBI single to shortstop, plating Root for a 4-3 lead. Samuel Doucet threw the ball away on the play, allowing Hayman to advance to third. Griffith followed with a run-scoring single of his own for a 5-3 advantage. Two batters later, Ken O'Neill was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in Gentry to increase the lead to three.
Millsaps (35-12) responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a Wes Perkins two-run double down the right-field line off of Danny Druzgala, but Salisbury, which banged out 18 hits, rallied again in the seventh.
Griffith singled up the middle, scoring two more, and Evan Graci, followed with an RBI triple to deep center to make it 9-5. Schiotis reached on another error by Doucet and Graci came in to cap the scoring in the frame.
Root added an RBI single in the eighth, scoring Austin Barefoot for the final margin.
Dan Fein improved to 10-0 in 5 1/3 innings. He scattered eight hits and two earned runs before giving way to Druzgala, who was stellar after giving up the double to Perkins. He threw 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs with two strikeouts. Kyle Hamby pitched the ninth, also fanning a pair.
The Majors, who face Methodist University in a 1 p.m., eastern elimination game, Friday, were led by two hits each from Perkins and Doucet.
The Sea Gulls opened a 1-0 lead in the first inning, stringing together three hits with two outs. Griffith laced a double to right-center field to start the rally and Graci followed with a single up the middle for his eight two-out RBI of the season for the lead.
Griffith's 15th double of the year ties him for the 10th best single-season total in SU history.
Millsaps came back with a pair in the bottom of the first to take the lead. A Johnny Schiotis single made it 2-2. Kevin Wall singled home Perkins in the bottom of the fifth for a 3-2 lead.
Shumaker absorbed the loss on the mound for Millsaps, falling to 6-1.