SALISBURY, Md. – Junior Alex Lipman went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and a home run to lead the No. 4 Salisbury University baseball team to a thrilling 13-12 victory over Rutgers University-Camden in its regular-season finale on Friday afternoon.
The Sea Gull offense, which scored in every inning but two, got off to a fast start, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Sophomore Pete Grasso reached first when he was hit by a pitch and stole second on the next at-bat to get into scoring position. After senior Bobby Sanzone was walked with two outs, senior Danny Breen connected with an RBI single up the middle to score Grasso.
Lipman led off the bottom of the second for Salisbury to record his first at-bat of the contest, and made the most out of it, blasting the second homer of his career to put the Gulls up 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, SU's offense opened the game up, as it rattled off three runs in the half inning to take a 5-0 lead.
Senior Jordan Gowe started things off when he hit a one-out infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Rutgers' pitcher. Sanzone was walked and Breen was hit by a pitch to load the bases before a single down the right-field line from Lipman scored Gowe and Sanzone. On the next at-bat, junior Tyler Hrycak got Breen across home plate when he singled through the right side.
The Raptors (26-17) cut the Sea Gulls' lead to 5-3 in the top of the fourth when Billy Jackson connected with a three-run bomb over the left-field fence before notching four more runs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead, their first lead of the contest.
Despite falling behind, Salisbury did not fold and answered with a strong six-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim the lead, 11-7.
With no outs and the bases loaded, Lipman came up big again, recording an infield single to score Sanzone for the first run of the inning. A single through the left side from Hrycak brought Breen home and on the next at-bat, junior Kyle Goodwin came in as a pinch hitter and blooped an RBI single towards first base, scoring senior catcher Austin Barefoot. Lipman scored on a throwing error by Rutgers-Camden's catcher before Grasso hit a one-out single through the left side to score Hrycak. Goodwin came home on a throwing error by the shortstop to notch the final run of the long inning.
A grand slam over the left-field fence from Bobby Romano evened the score at 11-11 in the top of the sixth, but the Sea Gulls fought back in the bottom of the seventh when Hrycak, who reached on a walk, eventually made his way home on a throwing error by the pitcher.
In the bottom of the eighth, with two outs and runners on first and second, Goodwin came through with an RBI single up the middle that scored Barefoot for the final run of the game.
Junior Connor Shockley earned his sixth win of the year on the mound, coming in to pitch midway through the top of the sixth. The Salisbury, Maryland native only allowed three hits in his three innings of work and recorded three strikeouts. Grasso, who started the game at shortstop, moved over to the hill for the final two outs to close out the game, earning his first save of the season.
The Sea Gulls now await the announcement for the NCAA tournament field, which will be released during the early hours of Monday morning. Check www.suseagulls.com for more details as it becomes available.