FROSTBURG, Md. – The No. 4 Salisbury University baseball team advanced to the finals of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament, defeating Christopher Newport University, 4-1, before taking down the University Mary Washington, 9-6, on Saturday, avenging its loss to the Eagles in the second round of the tournament.
Game 1: Salisbury 4, Christopher Newport 1
Sophomore pitcher Ryan Daiss was lights out the whole game for Salisbury, pitching a complete game two-hitter with five strikeouts and allowing just one run in the contest. Daiss carried his no-hit bid through 7 1/3 innings before finally surrendering a hit in the bottom of the eighth.
It took three innings to get on the scoreboard, but the Sea Gulls cracked the scoring column in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs to take a 3-0 lead.
Senior Jordan Gowe got things started with a one-out double through the left side. Senior Bobby Sanzone stepped up next and connected with a single in deep center field that got Gowe home to score. Still with just one out, senior Danny Breen blasted an RBI triple into left-center, scoring Sanzone. A single into right-center from senior Austin Barefoot recorded the final run of the inning, sending Breen across home plate.
Salisbury was held scoreless by Christopher Newport in the next two innings, but the Sea Gulls were able to break through in the top of the seventh, adding another run to their total and increasing their lead to 4-1.
Junior Jake Dmiterchik reached first on a leadoff walk before a sacrifice bunt from junior Tyler Hrycak advanced him to second. After the Captains made a pitching change, senior Kyle Hayman took advantage of the situation, hitting an infield single that sent Dmiterchik to third. On the next at-bat, sophomore Pete Grasso squared to bunt and got an RBI single out of it, sending Dmiterchik home for the lone run of the inning.
Daiss retired the side in order in the bottom of seventh, tallying a strikeout and causing two groundouts before Christopher Newport erased the no-hitter and scored a run in the bottom of the eighth.
The Captains (16-14) had a chance to put something together for a comeback in the bottom of the ninth when Brandon Ginch found himself in scoring position with one out. But Daiss would get a flyout and a groundout to end the game and earn his fifth win on the mound.
Game 2: Salisbury 9, Mary Washington 6
The Sea Gulls struck first in the contest, notching a run in the bottom of the second to take an early 1-0 lead.
Sanzone led off for SU in the inning and hit a single up the middle to start things off. Another single from Breen advanced Sanzone to second before a one-out single to right field from junior Alex Lipman loaded the bases. On the next at-bat, Dmiterchik hit a high fly ball deep into left field, scoring Sanzone on the sacrifice.
Salisbury's bats got hot in the bottom of the third, as the Gulls recorded three runs before the inning was over.
Grasso started things off with an infield single to the pitcher and quickly moved up 90 feet on a groundout. Mary Washington pitcher Thomas Weaver hit Sanzone to put runners on first and second before Breen blasted a double that bounced off the fence in right field and scored both Grasso and Sanzone. Barefoot answered Breen's double with a two base hit of his own, into left-center, that scored Breen and gave SU a 4-0 advantage.
The Sea Gull offense opened up again in bottom of the fifth, bringing home three more runs to take a 7-0 lead.
Gowe hit a leadoff single up the middle and got to second when Sanzone executed a sacrifice bunt. After Gowe stole third, Breen connected with a one-out single through the right side that scored Gowe. A single into left field from Barefoot put Breen into scoring position at second before Lipman continued with an RBI single through left side that scored Breen and advanced Barefoot to second. After advancing to second on a fielder's choice, Lipman crossed home plate for the final run of the inning when the Eagles' first baseman dropped a fly ball.
Mary Washington's (27-7) offense made noise in the top of the sixth, rattling home five runs in the inning to push for a comeback and cut Salisbury's lead to 7-5.
The Sea Gulls (24-3) had an answer in the bottom of the inning, scoring two more runs to build a four-run lead.
The inning was started with a leadoff single from Grasso, who would end up on third on the next at-bat when Gowe fired a double into left field to advance both runners into scoring position. Another sacrifice bunt from Sanzone scored Grasso for the first run, before Breen bounced an RBI triple off the left-center fence that scored Gowe and increased Salisbury's lead to 9-5.
With junior Jeff Oster on the mound for the Sea Gulls, the Eagles threatened again, scoring a run and loading the bases with just one out. Head Coach Troy Brohawn looked to senior Kyle Hamby close out the inning on the mound, and Hamby came through, causing a groundball double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Mary Washington tried to rally, tallying two hits to start the inning, but Hamby recovered, striking out the next two batters. On the second strikeout, Justin Kime tried to steal third, but Barefoot gunned him down to record the final out and end the game.
Shockley earned the win, going 5 1/3 innings, tallying two strikeouts, while Hamby picked up his second save of the season, pitching 1 2/3 innings of work and surrendering only two hits. Oster pitched two innings of relief and notched a strikeout.
Second-seeded Salisbury now gets set to take on No. 1 seed Frostburg State University on Sunday, April 19. The Sea Gulls need a doubleheader sweep over the Bobcats to earn the CAC crown. The first game is set for 10 a.m., and the second game, if necessary, will start at 1:30 p.m.