Sea Gulls pick up non-conference win against Gwynedd Mercy, 19-8

Sea Gulls pick up non-conference win against Gwynedd Mercy, 19-8

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 14 Salisbury University baseball team picked up a non-conference win Sunday afternoon against Gwynedd Mercy University, 19-8, at the SU Baseball Field.

Gwynedd Mercy (12-8) got on the board first, pushing across two unearned runs in the top of the first. After getting the first two batters, junior Ryan Belanger issued two walks. Belanger nearly worked out of the jam, getting John Burns to chop to third base but senior Ken O'Neill sailed the throw over classmate Quinn Griffith's head, allowing both base runners to score for a 2-0 Gwynedd Mercy lead.

In the Salisbury (19-7) half of the first, junior Kyle Hayman led off with a bunt single down the third base line to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Hayman would be quickly erased off the base paths though, as he was doubled off first when freshman Pete Grasso lined a shot to the third baseman, who fired over to first for the double play.

The Griffins would add to their lead in the second when David Blount drove in Frank Saviski with an RBI groundout to Grasso. Rick Elfreth would follow with a single to right that scored Greg Brooks for a 4-0 Gwynedd Mercy lead.

Salisbury would get on the board in its half of the second inning. Senior Johnny Schiotis led off the inning being hit by a pitch and was followed by a single by junior Jordan Gowe. Schiotis would advance to third on the play and would score as the Griffins attempted to throw out Gowe advancing to second.

Three batters later, junior Sam Myers skied a fly ball to right center that went over the head of the right fielder to bring in Gowe and O'Neill, who had walked before him, to close the gap. Senior Bill Root would draw a walk next and would score, along with Myers, when Grasso singled up the middle to give the Sea Gulls a 5-4 lead.

The third inning started the same way the second did for the Sea Gulls, with Schiotis being hit by a pitch. That is the 37th time that has happened in his career, putting him one shy of tying the all-time mark in program history.

The Sea Gulls would get solid defensive effort as the contest when on, with O'Neill making a diving stop and throw to end the third and catcher Tom LaBriola gunning down a would-be base runner trying to steal third to end the fourth. In the top of the fifth, sophomore Jeff Geary would get the first two outs of the inning when John Burns come up with the bases loaded. Burns lined a shot to Grasso, who flipped the ball to Schiotis to double off Dante Cassano at second.

Salisbury would add to its lead in the fourth, putting up six runs, starting with a single by Grasso to center to score Root. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Schiotis attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, which went back to the pitcher. J.P. Harris overthrew the catcher, who could not locate the ball at the backstop. All three Sea Gull runners would score, pushing the lead to 9-4. Myers would add a sacrifice fly two batters later, and would be followed by an RBI single by Root for an 11-4 lead.

The Sea Gulls would continue their trend of scoring every other inning, plating five in the sixth. Root drove in a run when he hit a bloop single just out of the reach of a diving Blount in centerfield. Hayman would follow with a single up the middle to plate O'Neill and Tom LaBriola for a 14-4 SU lead.

Following Grasso, who was hit by a pitch to keep the bases loaded, Griffith lined a single to left that scored Root and Hayman to extend the lead.

Salisbury would add a run in the seventh as Tom LaBriola would score on a wild pitch with Hayman at bat to make the score 17-4. Hayman would add to the lead with an RBI groundout to score O'Neill. Two batters later, pinch hitter Mike LaBriola would single up the middle to score Root, pushing the score to 19-4.

The Griffins would push across four runs in the eighth, against junior Mitch Paz, who worked two-thirds of an inning. Freshman Nathan Justis would relieve Paz, walk his first batter but would strike out the next batter to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded.

Geary would pick up the win for the Sea Gulls; he retired each of the four batters he faced.

Hayman, Tom LaBriola and Root would each finish the contest with three hits, while Grasso, Hayman and Myers would each drive in three runs.

The Sea Gulls will be back in action on Tuesday, April 8, hosting the Catholic University of America. That contest is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

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