May 18, 2014

Sea Gulls advance to championship round of regionals with 5-2 win over Widener

MARIETTA, Ohio – The No. 7 Salisbury University baseball team is now the only unbeaten team in the NCAA Division III Marietta, Ohio Regional, thanks to a 5-2 win over Widener University, Sunday morning at Don Schaly Stadium. The Sea Gulls will now take on the winner of the Case Western Reserve University/Widener contest on Sunday night, needing one win – with two chances to pick it up – to advance to the Division III College World Series in Appleton, Wisc.

Salisbury (36-7) would take an early lead in the second inning, with the aid of a Pride error. With one out, junior Jordan Gowe would reach on a Widener error, advancing to second. Classmate Austin Barefoot would follow with a single to right center that would move Gowe to third. Senior Ken O'Neill would cash in on the opportunity with a single through the left side for a 1-0 Salisbury lead.

With Barefoot on third and O'Neill at first and two outs, junior Kyle Hayman would extend the Sea Gull lead by knocking in Barefoot with a single to left field.

Widener (33-12) had an opportunity to answer back in the third but was unable to do so. After the first two batters reached base – the leadoff batter by walk followed by a Sea Gull error – Bob Barnett was unable to move the runners into scoring position, when he popped up a bunt to Salisbury starter Pete Grasso.

With one out, Michael Riverso singled to right center but the Sea Gulls executed a relay flawlessly to cut down Paul Shepherd at the plate. Grasso would strike out Matt Scherer to end the inning and the threat.

The Pride would break through in the fourth, chasing Grasso in the meantime. Nicholas Enos started the inning with a single and was moved to second with a sacrifice bunt. Enos would advance to third on a wild pitch with Justin Healy at bat, who drew a walk. Grasso would be relieved by sophomore Connor Shockley. Shockley's first hitter faced, Sam Christie, would lay down a sacrifice bunt that scored Enos to cut the Salisbury lead to 2-1.

The Sea Gulls would answer back in their half of the fourth to extend their lead. With Grasso at bat, and senior Bill Root on second and Hayman on third, Root and Hayman executed a double steal. With two runners in scoring position, Grasso capitalized with a two-run single to center for a 4-1 lead.

Widener would push across a single run in the sixth, its final run of the contest. Enos led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a walk to McDonough, Enos scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Healy to make it a 4-2 game in favor of Salisbury.

The Sea Gulls would get that run back in the seventh, the final run of the contest, when senior Johnny Schiotis walked with one out and advanced to second when junior Bobby Sanzone was hit by a pitch. Gowe would follow and the Pride nearly got out of the inning.

Gowe grounded the ball to second base; Healy attempted to turn a double play by getting the ball to Enos at short but the throw to first was errant, allowing Schiotis to score and Gowe to advance to second.

Shockley would work the final 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win. The Salisbury, Md., native allowed a run on four hits to preserve the win for the Sea Gulls. His strong outing will have a domino effect going into tomorrow, with the Salisbury bullpen well rested going into Monday's games.

Hayman led the Sea Gulls with four of Salisbury's 10 hits in the contest. Grasso helped his and Shockley's cause with two RBIs in the game.

The Sea Gulls will face either Case Western Reserve or Widener for the second time in this regional tournament. That contest is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., with a second game to follow if necessary.

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