YORK, Pa. – After earning an 11-1 win over Mitchell College on the first day of the Mid-Atlantic regional of the 2015 NCAA Division III baseball tournament, the No. 5 Salisbury University baseball team gets set to take on Penn State University-Berks in day-two action on Thursday, May 14. The game is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.
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How we got here
Fourth-seeded Salisbury started off Mid-Atlantic regional play strong, capturing a commanding 11-1 victory over No. 5 seed Mitchell College on Wednesday morning. The Gulls got started quick in the game, scoring four runs in the first inning before adding two more to their total in the second to take an early 6-0 lead. The Mariners got on the board with a run in the top of the third, but SU scored five more runs to put the game away.
Sophomore Pete Grasso led the team offensively with two hits, including a triple, three RBIs, and a run scored. Senior Brett Collacchi saw the start on the mound and was a dominant force, pitching eight innings with 10 strikeouts and no earned runs.
How they got here
Penn State-Berks, the No. 8 seed, started its regional play by notching an upset win over top-seeded Kean University on Wednesday afternoon. The Lions won 5-4 in a thrilling battle. The first three innings of the contest went scoreless, but Penn State-Berks made noise in the top of the fourth, tallying two runs to take a 2-0 lead. Kean battled back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs to take the lead, but the Lions answered in the top of the sixth, rattling off three more runs to retake the lead for good.
Keeanu Erb led Penn State-Berks on offense, going 2-for-3 with a game-high three RBIs. Kyle Hartman pitched a complete game on the mound for the Lions, recording four strikeouts and allowing only one earned run.
Scouting Penn State-Berks
The Lions finished the regular season with a 20-17-1 record, but rallied to win their conference tournament to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Penn-State Berks is led offensively by Tom Grablewski, who leads the team in hits (45) and runs (30). Another offensive threat for the Lions this season has been Cory Fox, who is tied for first on the team in RBIs with 20 and second on the team in hits with 35. Steve Koenig has been the top pitcher for the Lions, notching a 6-1 record and recording a 2.15 ERA in 54 1/3 innings pitched.
Movin' on up
Collacchi and senior Kyle Hayman have put up big numbers in their careers at SU and are both moving their way up the record books in several categories. Collacchi is currently second in program history in wins with 31 and complete-game shutouts with two. Collacchi is first in the program in games started with 46. The Bear, Delaware native is also seventh in the program in strikeouts with 177. Hayman is climbing the Salisbury record books as well, as he is No. 2 in the program in batting average with .410 and fourth in on-base percentage with .489. The center fielder is also tied for fifth in the program in triples with eight, sixth in stolen bases with 56, and seventh in hits with 204.
Big league small ball philosphy
Head Coach Troy Brohawn, who is in his first season as the coach for the Sea Gulls, spent 11 seasons in the National League of Major League Baseball, including serving as a relief pitcher for the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Brohawn has brought over the small ball philosophy from his National League experience, and implemented at Salisbury. The Sea Gulls have tallied 60 sacrifice bunts so far this season, which is in the top three in the nation.
The winner of the Salisbury/PSU-Berks game will take on the winner of Thursday's game eight, which has the possibility of being the winner of Wednesday's game three (No. 6 Misericordia/No. 3 Johns Hopkins) or Wednesday's game four (No. 7 Catholic/No. 2 Alvernia).