YORK, Pa. – The No. 5 Salisbury University baseball team's strong offensive performance against Mitchell College on Wednesday carried over to Thursday, as the Gulls defeated Penn State University-Berks, 16-5, on day two of the Mid-Atlantic regional of the 2015 NCAA baseball tournament.
Salisbury was kept scoreless in the first two innings, but it would not be a problem, as the Gulls scored at least one run in each of the next six innings to take control of the game.
The Sea Gulls got their offense going in the top of the third, scoring a run to take a 1-0 lead. Junior Tyler Hrycak was walked to start the inning and moved over to second on the next at-bat when junior Kyle Goodwin laid down a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, sophomore Pete Grasso blasted a triple into right-center to send Hrycak home for the first run of the contest.
SU kept its offense going in the top of fourth, this time bringing home two runs to go up 3-0 midway through the game.
Senior Bobby Sanzone connected with a single through the left side to lead off the inning before senior Danny Breen hit a single in the same spot to send Sanzone to second. Sanzone shifted into scoring position on a double-play ball and junior Alex Lipman was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. Lipman advanced to second on a wild pitch and Hrycak was walked to load the bases before Goodwin came through with a two-out double down the left line that sent Sanzone and Lipman across home plate.
Salisbury's (31-4-1) offense stayed hot in the top of the fifth, notching another four runs to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
Grasso stepped up to the plate to lead off and sliced a double down the left-field line. Senior Jordan Gowe sent an RBI single into left field that scored Grasso and moved over 90 feet to second when Sanzone was walked. With two runners on base and no outs, Breen kept the offense going, powering a three-run home run over the wall in left field to take a seven-run lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Penn State-Berks (21-18-1) got on the scoreboard, tallying two runs to cut Salisbury's lead to 7-2. Keeanu Erb recorded a one-out single up the middle and ended up scoring on an error later in the inning to notch the first run in the game for the Lions. With two outs on the board, Zach Reis hit an infield single that scored Nick Zipay to account for Penn State-Berks' final run of the inning.
Three more runs came across for the Sea Gulls in the top of the sixth, building a 10-2 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
A leadoff walk from Grasso and a single into center field from Gowe put runners on first and second with no outs. Then Sanzone did what he has been doing all year long, executing a sacrifice bunt to send Gowe and Grasso into scoring position. Breen continued his strong offensive day with a one-out, two-run double off the wall in left field that sent Gowe and Grasso home. After Breen took third on a wild pitch, Lipman hit a fly ball deep into right field to record the sacrifice, sending Breen across the plate to score.
The Sea Gulls tallied another run in the top of the seventh, putting the score at 11-2. Hrycak led off the inning with a double into left-center before Goodwin hit an RBI single to right-center to send Hrycak home.
Salisbury closed out its scoring in the top of the eighth, scoring five more runs to cap its total at 16 on the evening, before giving up three runs to Penn State-Berks in the bottom half of the inning to put the final score at 16-5.
Breen had a strong offensive effort on the night, going 4-for-5 with five RBIs. The Owings, Maryland native was just a triple shy of hitting the cycle. Goodwin also had a big performance, going 3-for-4 and tallying five RBIs of his own to help the Gulls in the victory.
Senior pitcher Dan Fein saw the start on the mound, and was a problem for the Lions. The lefty pitched eight innings, recording six strikeouts and allowing just three earned runs in the contest to earn his sixth win of the season. Freshman Kyle Skilling took the hill in the ninth, notching two strikeouts to close out the game.
The 16-5 victory marks the highest run total for Salisbury in an NCAA tournament game since the Gulls defeated the University of Mary Washington, 21-11, on May 21 in the 2004 regional tournament held in Martinsville, Virginia.
SU will take on the winner of Thursday night's No. 2 seed Alvernia/No. 6 seed Misericordia matchup on Friday, May 15 at Santander Stadium in York, Pennsylvania. Friday's game is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.