ASTON, Pa. – The No. 5 Salisbury University baseball team used big innings in the fourth and the ninth to earn an 8-3 victory over non-conference opponent Neumann University on Wednesday afternoon.
Both starting pitchers were on point to start the contest, as the teams combined for just three runs during the first three innings of action.
Despite the slow start, the Sea Gulls' (26-4) offense opened up in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs to take a 3-0 lead.
Sophomore Pete Grasso got things started with a leadoff single up the middle. Grasso moved to second on the next at-bat when senior Jordan Gowe reached on a fielder's choice, before senior Bobby Sanzone executed his 10th sacrifice bunt of the season to shift both runners over 90 feet.
A groundout on the next at-bat sent Grasso across home plate for the first run of the contest, while Gowe moved over to third. Gowe would then score when senior Austin Barefoot connected with a two-out RBI infield single. A single into right-center from junior Alex Lipman advanced Barefoot to third, before the catcher scored on a fielding error by the shortstop during the next at-bat.
Sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Daiss kept up his strong play on the mound for the next three innings, allowing just two hits during the span.
In the top of the seventh, Salisbury extended its lead to 4-0. Junior Kyle Goodwin connected with a leadoff single and ended up on third during the next at-bat, stealing second and reaching the corner on a throwing error by Neumann's catcher. Then Hayman sent a high flyout into left field that was good enough to score Goodwin for the sacrifice.
The Knights (15-11-1) got to Daiss once in the bottom of the seventh when Jesus Lantigua powered a one-out solo homer over the left-center fence, but Daiss and the Sea Gull defense clamped down and retired the next two batters to end the inning with minimal damage.
SU tacked on another run in the top of the eighth to take a 5-1 advantage over Neumann thanks to an RBI triple from Barefoot that scored Sanzone, but the Knights would threaten in the bottom half of the inning.
Neumann broke further into Salisbury's lead in the bottom of the eighth when Matt Sheneman ripped a two-run homer over the left field fence to put the score at 5-3, but the Gulls answered with three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away.
Hayman hit a one-out double into left field before being advanced to third on a single up the middle from Grasso. Gowe was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Sanzone cleaned up with a two-RBI single through the left side that scored Hayman and Grasso. With Gowe on third, senior Danny Breen mimicked Sanzone, hitting a single through the left side that sent the Easton, Maryland native across home plate for the final run of the game.
Daiss pitched eight innings to earn his team-leading sixth win for Salisbury, registering five strikeouts and allowing only three runs in the contest. Senior Kyle Hamby came in for the bottom of the ninth, pitching a hitless inning of relief to close out the game.
The Sea Gulls will turn around and travel to Baltimore, Maryland tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28, when they take on Johns Hopkins University in another single-game showdown. The first pitch is set for 3 p.m.