SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 3 Salisbury University baseball team will be in action on Tuesday when it takes on the Wesley College Wolverines in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament. The Sea Gulls, who are the No. 2 seed, will host the fifth-seeded Wolverines in a single-game matchup at the SU Baseball Field. The first pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.
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How we got here
Salisbury earned the No. 2 seed after recording a 16-2 record in conference play, its best mark since the 2008 season when the Gulls notched an 18-0 record in the CAC. SU wrapped up its CAC regular season with a doubleheader sweep over St. Mary's College of Maryland and a 13-3 defeat of Marymount (Va.) University before falling to first-seeded Frostburg State University in a pair of games for the CAC regular season finale.
How they got here
Wesley received the No. 5 seed by garnering an 8-10 record in conference play, which is tied for the fifth best CAC record this season. Christopher Newport University also notched an 8-10 conference record, but the Wolverines earned the No. 5 spot because they won the head-to-head matchup against the Captains.
The Sea Gulls have been the stronger team in the series, holding 43-10-1 all-time record against the Wolverines. Salisbury has been the victor in eight of its last 10 meetings and took both games over Wesley this season, including a 14-2 win in the CAC season opener on March 11.
The last time we met
The Gulls traveled to Dover, Delaware on April 1, and battled to a 7-3 victory over the Wolverines. Salisbury fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the third, but fought back, scoring seven runs in the next three innings to put Wesley away. Sophomore Tom LaBriola led the Sea Gulls on the day, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Sophomore Pete Grasso also had a good day against Wesley, going 2-for-5, including a double and two runs. Junior Jon Schmedel earned the win on the mound, pitching 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing just one hit and throwing four strikeouts.
Reaching new heights
Salisbury climbed its way all the way to the top of the D3baseball.com poll on March 24 for the No. 1 ranking in the nation and earned the No. 3 ranking in the American Baseball Coaches' Association/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III Baseball Poll, holding both spots for three-straight weeks. The three-straight weeks at No. 1 matches the 2009 season when the Gulls accomplished the same feat.
Since dropping the game to Salisbury on April 1, Wesley has tallied a 4-5 record, including picking up doubleheader sweeps over York College of Pennsylvania and Southern Virginia University. Tyler Hunter leads the Wolverines in hits with 41, and has the highest batting average on the team at .402. Eric Speidel is another offensive threat for Wesley, leading the team in home runs with three and in doubles with seven.
The winner of tomorrow's game will advance to play the winner of the No. 4 Marymount (Va.) versus No. 3 University of Mary Washington game, while the loser will take on the loser of the No. 6 Christopher Newport and No. 1 Frostburg State matchup. The final three days of the CAC tournament will be played April 16-18 at Frostburg State.