MARIETTA, Ohio – The No. 7 Salisbury University baseball team started strong and held on late to take its first game in the 2014 NCAA tournament, a 9-8 win over John Carroll University.
Salisbury (34-7) jumped out to an early lead, with a six-run second inning. Senior Johnny Schiotis started the frame with a single through the left side but was erased at second on a fielder's choice off the bat of junior Bobby Sanzone. Classmate Jordan Gowe would follow Sanzone with a single of his own to give the Sea Gulls two on with one out.
The Sea Gulls would load the bases with a single by junior Austin Barefoot, setting the stage for senior Ken O'Neill. The Lothian, Md., native put the ball in play, with Sanzone and Gowe scoring on a John Carroll (24-16) error.
Senior Bill Root would follow with a triple to left center to drive in Barefoot and O'Neill for a 4-0 SU lead. Junior Kyle Hayman plated Root with a single up the middle and would proceed to steal second.
Two batters later, senior Quinn Griffith capped the scoring for the inning with a single to left field. The Federalsburg, Md., native was cut down at second after the throw went through to the plate but the damage was done.
The Blue Streaks would get on the board with a pair of runs in the third, but Salisbury would extend its lead an inning later.
Hayman led off the fourth inning with a walk and advanced to second with a single by freshman Pete Grasso. Griffith picked up his second RBI of the contest with a single through the left side to plate Hayman for a 7-2 Salisbury lead.
Following a Schiotis sacrifice bunt to advance Griffith to second and Grasso to third, Sanzone singled to left and scored both runners for a 9-2 advantage.
John Carroll would score single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to further cut into the Salisbury lead. Sea Gull starter Brett Collacchi worked the first six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits.
Follow an inning of work by freshman Ryan Daiss and sophomore Jon Schmedel, Head Coach Doug Fleetwood would hand the ball to junior Kyle Hamby with Salisbury holding a 9-4 lead. Hamby would not record an out, letting up four runs, three earned, and would give way to classmate Dan Fein with the tying run on second and go-ahead score on first.
Fein would record the first out of the inning on a sacrifice bunt, and would intentionally load the bases by walking pinch hitter Jacob Schriner. John Carroll's Mitchell Herringshaw attempted to tie the score with a sacrifice bunt but Griffith cut down the advancing runner at the plate for the second out.
After working the count full with the bases still loaded, Fein would get Rob Cifelli to fly out to Hayman to give the Sea Gulls the win.
Gowe and Griffith led the Sea Gull attack with three hits each; the Sea Gulls had 13 base knocks in the contest. Griffith, Root and Sanzone each had a pair of RBIs in the game.
The Sea Gulls will play the winner of the Thomas More College/Case Western Reserve University game Wednesday evening. That contest is the last game scheduled for Thursday, with an 8 p.m., start time.