SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University baseball team defeated Eastern Shore rival Washington (Md.) College on Thursday afternoon by the final score of 7-6. The Sea Gulls jumped out to a 7-1 advantage and withstood a furious rally late in the game to preserve the win.
The Sea Gulls (4-4) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first two innings. In the bottom of the first Justin Meekins led off for the maroon and gold drawing a walk followed by a Pete Grasso single giving Salisbury runners on the corners with no outs. During the next at-bat a double steal plated Meekins to give the Gulls a 1-0 advantage.
In the bottom half of the second inning a failed pickoff attempt by the Shoremen (0-3) led to Robbie Jones coming around to score stretching the lead to 2-0.
Salisbury broke the game open in the fourth, plating five runs. Scott Ardoin led off the inning with a single to short followed by back-to-back perfectly executed bunt singles by Ron Villone and Meekins loading the bases with no outs in the inning. After Grasso plated Ardoin via a fielding error Tom LaBriola and Simon Palenchar drove in runs off of walks to help stretch the lead to 4-1.
Kevin Dean singled immediately after to drive in LaBriola, stretching the lead to five at 6-1. Overall, nine batters came to the plate for the Sea Gulls in the inning recording five runs, four hits, and five different players tallying an RBI.
Brad Keith, who was solid throughout, held the Washington offense in check. Keith would finish the game earning the win going 6 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs and nine hits while striking out three.
In three different innings Keith faced four or fewer batters and twice he went three up and three down. The Shoremen were able to manage little offense until the seventh inning when they plated four runs to pull within one, 7-6. Four of the six runs were scored off the long ball for Washington.
After Keith gave way to Grasso, Grasso silenced the Shoremen bats and ended the offensive threat. He would finish the game going 2 2/3 innings pitched allowing just four hits and totaling four strikeouts to earn the save.
Both Keith and Grasso, along with the Salisbury defense forced Washington into leaving 11 men on base throughout the course of the game. Twice in the last two innings Grasso managed to work his way out of men in scoring position to help preserve the win.
The Sea Gulls will host Franklin & Marshall College on Saturday March 4. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.