FROSTBURG, Md. – The No. 3 Salisbury University baseball team faced its toughest matchup of the regular season in No. 6 Frostburg State University, and fell in both games of a doubleheader to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament.
Game 1: Frostburg State 10, Salisbury 0
In the first game of the twin bill, the Sea Gulls would struggle both offensively and defensively throughout.
Senior Brett Collacchi saw the start on the mound for Salisbury, and Frostburg State would get to him early when Nick Walker hit a two-RBI homer over the left field fence to open the scoring in the first inning.
Collacchi and the Sea Gull defense kept the Bobcats off the board in the second, baiting two infield pop-ups and a groundout to junior Jake Dmiterchik.
In the top of the third, junior Tyler Hrycak led off with a double down the right field line, but that would be the only hit in the inning for Salisbury.
The bottom-half of the inning saw Frostburg increase its lead to 3-0 when Walker ran home on a wild pitch.
The fourth inning went scoreless for both squads, but the Bobcats' offense opened up again in the bottom of the fifth.
A double from Ricky Brady and a single from Zach Keeler scored the first two runs of the inning, causing Head Coach Troy Brohawn to make a pitching change and put senior Dan Fein into the game. Frostburg State tallied two more runs off Fein before the inning was over, stretching its lead to 7-0.
The Bobcats scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to cap the scoring in the game and put the score at 10-0.
Senior Jordan Gowe led the Sea Gulls in the first game, going 2-for-3 and notching a stolen base.
Game 2: Frostburg State 8, Salisbury 7
The second game saw Salisbury get on the scoreboard first, taking an early 1-0 lead.
Senior Kyle Hayman led off the game with a single into left field and ended up on third during the next at-bat when he advanced on two wild pitches. With one out, senior Bobby Sanzone executed an RBI sacrifice bunt to get Hayman home.
Sophomore Pete Grasso was the starting pitcher for the Sea Gulls in game two after playing the first game at shortstop, and got off to a good start on the mound, earning three strikeouts and allowing just two hits in the first.
Salisbury's (21-2, 16-2 CAC) offense went scoreless in the next two innings, but strong play from Grasso and the defense kept the Bobcats off the board as well.
Frostburg State (26-3, 16-2) finally got to Grasso in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs in the half-inning to take a 5-1 lead. Grasso struck out the leadoff batter and caused a groundout on the second at-bat, before the Bobcats did the damage in the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Frostburg State tallied another run to increase its lead to 6-1, but SU answered in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs to put the score at 6-4.
Sanzone led off the inning and reached first after he was hit by a pitch and was forced over to second when junior Alex Lipman was walked.
Lipman advanced to second when Sanzone got caught stealing at third and was sent home on the next at-bat when sophomore Tom LaBriola blasted an RBI double down the right field line to score the first run of the inning.
Hrycak stepped up to the plate next and hit an RBI double of his own into center field that scored LaBriola. Senior Sam Myers entered the game as a pinch hitter on the next at-bat and accounted for the final run of the inning when he hit a single into right field that scored Hrycak.
The Bobcats scored another run in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-4 lead, but the Sea Gulls retaliated with three runs of their own in the top of the eighth to tie the game.
With two outs in the half-inning, Gowe stepped up and crushed a two-run double down the right field line that scored Hayman and junior Kyle Goodwin. A single into left field from Sanzone sent Gowe home and tied the game at 7-7.
Both teams were held scoreless in the ninth inning, sending the game into extras.
Salisbury had a chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th when Goodwin got into scoring position. Goodwin started things with a leadoff infield single and advanced to second when Hayman hit a sacrifice bunt, but was left stranded in scoring position after a groundout and foul fly out to the right fielder.
The Bobcats held the Sea Gulls scoreless again in the top of the 11th and would take advantage in the bottom-half of the inning, recording a sacrifice fly to win the game.
Grasso went five innings and tallied eight strikeouts on the day. Junior Jeff Oster pitched two innings of relief, allowing just one run and striking out six, while junior Jon Schmedel pitched a hitless 2 2/3 innings of work, tallying four strikeouts. Sophomore Ryan Daiss came in to pitch in the bottom of the 11th and struck out two batters.
With the No. 2 seed in hand, the Sea Gulls will now host a first-round CAC matchup at the SU Baseball Field on Tuesday, April 14 against the No. 5 seed Wesley College. That game is set to begin at 3:30 p.m.