APPLETON, Wisc. – The No. 5 Salisbury University baseball team tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth against the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, but fell just short, dropping its first game of the College World Series, 7-3.
The Eagles (34-13) struck first in the contest, tallying two runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 2-0 lead. Joel Zyhowski notched an RBI bunt single that scored Bryce Barsness for the first run of the contest before Shane Adler made it home on a groundout for the second run of the game.
Wisconsin-La Crosse's offense got hot in the top of the fourth, recording three more runs to go up 5-0. Travis Buxton-Verstegen powered an RBI double into right-center field to start the scoring in the inning. A sacrifice fly from Eric Vatch that scored Buxton-Verstegen brought home the second run of the inning and Alex Cordova capped the scoring in the fourth with a two-out RBI double into left-center field that scored Zyhowski.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Sea Gulls (33-5-1) had a chance to make some noise, loading the bases with two outs, but were not able to get a run across. With two outs, senior Austin Barefoot reached first on a walk before being forced over to second when junior Alex Lipman took a base on balls. Eagles pitcher Ben Cejka walked his third batter in a row in junior Tyler Hrycak to load the bases, but the Gulls could not capitalize, coming up just short on a groundout to third base to end the inning.
Despite the slow start, Salisbury's offense awakened in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs to cut Wisconsin-La Crosse's lead to 6-2. Junior Kyle Goodwin led off with a single into left field and moved over to second two batters later when sophomore Pete Grasso reached first on a walk. Senior Jordan Gowe came through with the Sea Gulls' first RBI of the day on the next at-bat, placing a single into right field that scored Goodwin. Grasso advanced to third on Gowe's single and made his way home for SU's second run when senior Bobby Sanzone hit a sacrifice fly into left field.
Wisconsin-La Crosse answered in the top of the ninth with an insurance run to cap their scoring in the game, but Salisbury would not be done.
Hayman connected with a one-out single into right field before moving over to second on an error by the shortstop in the bottom of the inning. A ground out got Hayman to third, and the Wilmington, Delaware native scored on the next at-bat when Sanzone notched a two-out RBI infield single to put the score at 7-3. The Gulls had runners on the corners, with two outs and the tying run in the on-deck circle, but could not capitalize.
The Gulls will now get ready for an elimination game against Trinity University (Texas), on Saturday at Fox Cities Stadium. The first pitch is set for 5:30 p.m., eastern time.