SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 17 Salisbury University baseball team opened the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference baseball tournament with an 11-3 first-round win over Wesley College at the SU Baseball Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Junior Pete Grasso earned the start on the mound for the third-seeded Sea Gulls and needed only 11 pitches in the first inning to retire the Wolverines in order, allowing the Salisbury offense to get going.
Senior Kyle Goodwin knocked a single through the left side to lead things off, before classmate Alex Lipman walked. Junior Tom LaBriola advanced the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and senior Jake Dmiterchik took advantage, driving the first pitch he saw into center field to plate Goodwin. Lipman came in on the next at-bat, as Grasso picked up the RBI on a ground out for a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Wesley, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, got back one run in the second, but the Gulls got back to it in their half of the inning for four more runs. Salisbury quickly loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. Lipman then drove in his first run on a single up the middle, and LaBriola followed with the big hit. He connected on the first pitch and grounded a double just past the diving second baseman to the right-center field wall to clear the bases and push the lead to 6-1. LaBriola led the team with the three RBI in the game.
The game was never in doubt from there, as Grasso only allowed one more run over the next 3 1/3 innings on the way to his fifth win of the season. He struck out seven, while allowing only six hits in the outing.
The Wolverines second run came in the top of the third, before Salisbury added two more to bump its lead to 8-2. Goodwin drove in his first-of-two RBI in the inning on a single. He finished the game with four hits to lead the team and three runs, which tied Lipman for the team high.
His second RBI came in a three-run sixth inning on another single, before Lipman drove a double into left field for back-to-back RBI hits.
Wesley tacked on one more run in the seventh, but that was all Salisbury would give, as junior Ryan Daiss came on to pitch the final three innings and earn his second save of the year. He allowed only four hits and tallied one strikeout in the effort.
The Sea Gulls will now travel to Frostburg State University for the CAC tournament championship weekend. In the second round of games on Thursday, April 21, the Gulls will take on Marymount (Va.) University at 4 p.m.