Salisbury baseball prepares for NCAA regional play

Salisbury baseball prepares for NCAA regional play

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 5 Salisbury University baseball team gets set to open up play in the eight-team Mid-Atlantic regional of the 2015 NCAA baseball tournament at Santander Stadium in York, Pennsylvania, as it takes on Mitchell College in the first round on Wednesday, May 13 at 10 a.m.

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How we got here

The Sea Gulls, who are the No. 4 seed, earned a 29-4-1 record during the regular season to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA regional. Salisbury went 16-2 in the Capital Athletic Conference and made a run all the way to the conference championship before falling to the host team Frostburg State University. For the past eight weeks, the No. 4 Gulls have been ranked in the top five in the nation in the American Baseball Coaches' Association/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III Baseball Poll. Salisbury is the No. 4 seed in the eight-team regional.

How they got here

The fifth-seeded Mariners finished the regular season with a 32-5 overall record and a 16-2 mark in the New England Collegiate Conference. In its conference tournament, Mitchell found itself in the loser's bracket after dropping a game to Elms College, but the Mariners fought back to win three games in a row, including two against Elms to get revenge and take the conference crown.

Scouting Mitchell

The Mariners are led offensively by Kenneth Olszewski and Ryan Goodwin, who are two of the top batters in the NECC. Olszewski finished the regular season with a .403 batting average, which is second in the conference, while Goodwin leads the conference in RBIs with 42 on the season. Neftali Arroyo has been the team's best long ball hitter on the season, leading the team in home runs with five, which is also tied for second in the conference. Mitchell also has a strong pitching staff, including one of the top pitchers in the nation this year. Al Jordan Johnson has recorded a 1.11 ERA, which ranks in the top 20 in the nation and is the highest mark in the NECC.  Johnson has tallied 56 strikeouts and only allowed seven earned runs the whole season.

Streaking at the right time

Danny Breen and Pete Grasso, who have been two of Salisbury's top performers this season, are currently on hitting and reaching-base streaks. Breen is currently on a 10-game hitting streak, while reaching base the last 10 games. Grasso's hitting streak is at eight games, but the Wilmington, Delaware native has reached base 11 games in a row.

Pitch perfect

Salisbury's pitching staff has been one of the biggest keys to its success this season. Brett Collacchi and Dan Fein have continued to show that they are two of the best pitchers in Division III. Collacchi, who sits at second in program history in career wins with 30, has earned a 5-2 record on the mound in 2015, recording 40 strikeouts and a 3.77 ERA. Fein has had another outstanding year for the Gulls, posting a 5-0 record on the hill, while garnering a 2.83 ERA, tallying 33 strikeouts, and walking only seven batters in his 54 innings of work. Another strong point on the mound for Salisbury has been sophomore Ryan Daiss. Daiss has quickly become one of the top pitchers on the team, boasting a 2.39 ERA and leading the team in strikeouts with 49.

What's next?

The winner of the Salisbury/Mitchell contest will take on the winner of the first-seeded Kean University/No. 8 seed Penn State University-Berks matchup. The loser of tomorrow's game will face the loser of the Kean/Penn State-Berks game.

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