SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 24 Salisbury University baseball team dropped a tough 11-10 decision to Virginia Wesleyan College on Tuesday afternoon suffering its first defeat of the season. After falling behind early the Sea Gulls rallied back furiously but came up one run short in the end after a late inning run by the Marlins.
Much like Sunday, Virginia Wesleyan (1-3) jumped out to the early lead scoring six runs in the opening inning to go up 6-0. The Marlins added two more runs in the second making the score 8-0 after just two innings of play.
However, Salisbury (2-1) began to chip away at the lead over the course of the next five innings. In the third inning Colby Dean led off with a double followed by a Brad Keith walk to give the Sea Gulls runners on first and second with no outs. Ron Villone stepped up one batter later and laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. Justin Meekins made the most of the opportunity scoring Dean on a sacrifice fly to left field to give Salisbury its first run of the day.
In the very next inning the Sea Gulls found themselves down two outs quickly and needed a spark to get the offense going. Simon Palenchar doubled to right field to give the maroon and gold their fourth base runner of the afternoon. The next batter, Jack Barry, cracked a single into center field to score Palenchar and pull the Gulls within six, 8-2.
After the Marlins tacked on another run in the top of the fifth inning to make the score 9-2, Salisbury began to find its offensive rhythm. Villone drew a walk and Meekins singled the next at bat giving Kyle Canavan runners on first and third. Canavan hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Villone on the play. After a Tom LaBriola single, Pete Grasso came to the plate with runners at first and second. Grasso drove a single into center to plate Meekins pulling the Sea Gulls within five, 9-4.
Virginia Wesleyan answered once again with a solo home run by Taylor Erby. Salisbury failed to be shaken though as the offense came to life in the bottom half of the inning. After both Dean and Keith earned back-to-back walks Head Coach Troy Brohawn went to his bench and called Jack Decker up to pinch hit. Decker not only answered the call but he did so by crushing the very first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a three-run homer pulling the Sea Gulls all the way back to trail only by three, 10-7.
Tom LaBriola singled later in the inning to plate Meekins trimming the lead to just two, 10-8.
In the bottom half of the seventh inning the comeback was made complete. Barry ripped a ball down the left field line that rolled all the way into the corner allowing him to make it to second base with a stand up double. One batter later Dean launched a ball over the right field wall and into the Wayne Street Parking Garage netting for his first home run of the year, but more importantly tying the game at 10-10.
The Marlins sent one more across the plate in the eighth inning to go up 11-10 and held on for the one-run win.
Decker finished the day 1-for-1 with 3 RBI while Dean finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.
Salisbury will take on No. 1 State University of New York at Cortland on February 18 at home. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.