YORK, Pa. – The No. 16 Salisbury University baseball team sits a win away – with two possible chances to get it – from its third-consecutive Capital Athletic Conference championship. The Sea Gulls will face Christopher Newport University on championship Sunday at 11 a.m., at Jaquet Field on the campus of York College of Pennsylvania.
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How we got here
Against top-seed York College, the Sea Gulls pulled out a 10-8 come-from-behind victory to advance to championship Sunday as the only unbeaten team left in the tournament.
Salisbury (26-7) found itself down 7-2 after three innings but would rally to tie the score at 8-8 in the sixth with a three-run inning, capped by a two-run home run by senior Quinn Griffith.
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 fourth Spartan error of the contest and advanced to second on the play. Senior Ken 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, junior Kyle 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.
How they got here
Christopher Newport (23-14) had a busy Saturday, playing in two elimination games. After the Sea Gulls defeated York, the Captains took on Wesley College and came out with a 6-2 win. Jacob Vaughan tossed a complete game against the Wolverines.
The Captains would be in control the entire contest, as Wesley did not get on the board until the bottom of the ninth.
Kyle Corwin and Billy Steel each had two RBIs to lead the Captains, and Tommy Vitaletti had three hits to pace Christopher Newport.
With the win over Wesley, the Captains had to turn around and face York in yet another win-or-go-home contest. It was a game that came down to the wire and would require some bonus baseball.
The Spartans would get on the board first, as they plated their runs in the fifth inning when Herr singled home two runs.
Even though the game was on the campus of York, the Spartans were the visitors for the contest, and Christopher Newport would take advantage. The Captains would enter the bottom of the ninth down 2-0 but would tie the score in their last at-bat.
The Captains pushed across their first run when Steel doubled home Vitaletti, and then scored when Corwin reached on a Spartan error that would have ended the game.
York was unable to score in the top of the tenth and Christopher Newport would walk off with a single down the right-field line by Steel that plated Preston Grissom.
Offense comes alive
Salisbury has four hitters hitting at a .400 clip or higher in the three games so far in the CAC tournament. Hayman leads the Sea Gulls with a .538 average and has a team-high seven hits. Senior Bill Root is 5-for-10 in the tournament and has scored a team-leading five runs. Griffith is hitting .444 and freshman Tom LaBriola .400.
Hayman and senior Johnny Schiotis are tied for the team lead with three RBIs, while Hayman and Griffith are second on the team with four runs scored in the three games.
These two teams faced off on Friday, with the Sea Gulls coming away with a 6-0 win. Junior pitcher Brett Collacchi worked seven-plus shutout innings, giving up just two hits, and LaBriola had three hits to lead the Sea Gulls in the win.
The Sea Gulls have two cracks to get a single victory to claim the CAC crown, while Christopher Newport will have to get two wins. A second game, if necessary, will follow the 11 a.m., contest to determine the conference champion.