YORK, Pa. – The No. 16 Salisbury University baseball team advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference championship Sunday as the only undefeated team remaining after a 10-8 win over No. 23 York College of Pennsylvania, Saturday morning at Jaquet Field.
The Sea Gulls battled from behind in their last at bat to improve to 26-7 on the season and in the process, knocked off the top-seeded Spartans to get a win away from their third-straight CAC crown.
Second-seeded Salisbury fell behind early, as the Spartans pushed across a run in the first, and two in the second, off starter Connor Shockley. The Sea Gulls would answer back in the third, aided by smart base running and some help from York (22-6).
Senior Bill Root started the inning with a bunt single and was moved up to third on a single up the middle by junior Kyle Hayman. The Sea Gulls got their first run when Root and Hayman attempted a double steal, with Root coming home to cut the lead to 3-1. Hayman advanced to third on the play on a Spartan error.
Two batters later, senior Quinn Griffith singled to right field to bring in Hayman to pull the Sea Gulls within a run, 3-2 after three.
The Spartans would not fold, as they plated four runs in their half of the third to increase the lead to 7-2. York scored with the help of two Sea Gull errors; each side had four in the contest.
Salisbury would fight back in the fourth, as it got two runs back with a two-out rally. Senior Ken O'Neill doubled to left center and was followed by a two-bagger by Root to score O'Neill. Hayman followed Root with a triple down the right-field line to plate Root and make the score 7-4.
After keeping the Spartans off the board in the fourth, the first time York didn't push across a run in an inning, the Sea Gulls would plate a single run in the fifth. York would answer in the fifth with a single run but senior Johnny Schiotis made a nice play for the first out to limit the damage.
With one out and a runner on second, the Levittown, Pa., native ranged into short right field to field a grounder and get the first out of the inning. The Spartans would get a two-out RBI single by Scott Steffy but limited the damage in part because of Schiotis' play.
The Sea Gulls would plate three runs in the sixth to pull even, at 8-8. With one out, Root singled and advanced to second on a Spartan error. Following a Hayman bunt single and getting to second on a wild pitch, freshman Pete Grasso picked up an RBI groundout for the first run of the inning.
With two outs, Griffith followed with his first homerun of the season, a two-run shot down the left field line to knot the score. That shot fired up the Sea Gulls and seemed to deflate York, who wouldn't score the rest of the way out.
After a scoreless seventh and eighth, the Sea Gulls would push across two unearned runs in the ninth.
With one out, junior Austin Barefoot reached on the final Spartan error of the morning and advanced to second on the play. O'Neill followed with a double to right to give the Sea Gulls their first lead of the contest. Two batters later, with two outs, Hayman singled to right to plate O'Neill for the final run of the game.
Junior Kyle Hamby came in for the save but was greeted by Colbe Herr, who laced a leadoff double. Two batters later, with one out, Stephen Miele singled up the middle and Herr advanced to third. With runners on the corners, Hamby induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Colin Porter.
Today was the first win in three tries against the Spartans for Salisbury, who dropped a doubleheader on March 22.
With the win, the Sea Gulls advance to Championship Sunday and await their opponent. Whomever Salisbury plays will have to beat the Sea Gulls twice tomorrow to claim the CAC crown. Salisbury is the only team advancing that does not have a loss in the double elimination tournament. Sunday's contest is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with a second game to follow if necessary.