SALISBURY, Md. - The No. 11 Salisbury University baseball team begins the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference tournament on Tuesday, April 19. The third-seeded Sea Gulls will host fourth-seeded Wesley College in a first-round contest at the SU Baseball Field at 3:30 p.m.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls finished the CAC regular season with a 12-6 record to earn the third seed in the conference tournament. On Saturday, Salisbury split a doubleheader with Penn State University-Harrisburg to solidify its spot in the tournament. The Gulls took the second game 15-8, behind the power of three home runs. Junior Tom LaBriola led the way with one of the home runs, three RBI, and two runs, going 3-for-5 at the plate.
How they got here
Wesley finished the season with an 11-7 record in CAC play to earn the tournament's fourth seed, splitting a conference doubleheader with Christopher Newport University on Saturday. The Wolverines won the first game of the twin bill, 8-0, with Christopher Seibert driving in three runs and going 3-for-5 at the plate.
Last time we met
The Sea Gulls dropped a 10-9 contest at Wesley in the schools' most recent meeting on March 30. The Wolverines scored eight runs in the first three innings, before Salisbury came back to tie the game with eight runs between the fifth and sixth innings. Wesley tacked on the winning runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the win. LaBriola knocked in three runs to lead the team, while senior Jake Dmiterchik drove in two. Senior Tyler Hrycak also blasted a solo home run in the contest.
The Wolverines enter the CAC tournament with a strong offense, tied for second in the conference with a .329 team batting average, along with collecting the third most hits (393) and fourth most RBI (224) in the league. Ron Morello (.398) and Seibert (.383) rank seventh and 10th in the conference in batting, respectively, while Seibert's seven home runs are tied for fourth in the league. Wesley has three of the winningest pitchers in the CAC, as well, as Sam Meck, Cody Simet, and Eric Willey are tied for second with five wins, each, on the mound.
Everyone's a hitter
The Sea Gulls currently hold the top team batting average in the league at .349, led by LaBriola's .464, which also leads the CAC. Junior Pete Grasso and Dmiterchik are tied for third in the conference with .416 averages. The Salisbury offense has been the team's strength all season, as the team also leads the CAC in RBI with 281 and ranks second in home runs with 35 and fourth in hits with 375. Four Sea Gulls sit in the top 10 in home runs in the conference, led by Grasso and Dmiterchik with seven, each.
Despite the outcome of Tuesday's matchup, both teams will move on to the second round of the tournament on Thursday, April 21 at Frostburg State University, which will host the remainder of the tournament. The winner of Tuesday's matchup will take on the winner of a first-round contest between second-seeded Marymount (Va.) University and fifth-seeded Christopher Newport; the loser will take on the the winner of a first-round game between top-seeded Frostburg and sixth-seeded Penn State-Harrisburg. The game time on Thursday is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., for the loser and 4 p.m., for the winner between the Gulls and Wolverines.