SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University baseball team swept its Capital Athletic Conference opener defeating St. Mary's College of Maryland by scores of 16-5 in game one and 2-1 in game two. Jeff Oster lead the way on the mound as the pitching staff was solid throughout the day to help the Sea Gulls open up CAC play 2-0.
Game 1: Salisbury 16, St. Mary's 5
In game one, Oster took the bump for the Gulls and was on point from the get go. He was perfect through the first four innings of play, retiring the first 14 batters he faced overall. In the first four innings he tallied five strikeouts while striking out the first two batters he faced in the fifth inning.
The Salisbury (9-5, 2-0 CAC) offense gave its starting pitcher a lead to work with plating six runs between the second and third innings.
In the bottom of the second the first three batters all reached base safely leaving the bases loaded for Scott Ardoin. Ardoin delivered a clutch single up the middle scoring both Tom LaBriola and Jack Barry. Ardoin would score later in the inning stretching the advantage to 4-0 after a Justin Meekins single through the left side.
That was all the insurance Oster would need as he continued to dominate the St. Mary's (5-8, 0-3 CAC) offense. The Seahawks didn't manage a hit off of Oster until the fifth inning, their first of only seven in the game. St. Mary's finally broke the scoring draught in the seventh inning plating its first run of the game to cut the Salisbury lead to 6-1.
However, a 10-run bottom of the seventh inning blew the doors off the game and stretched the maroon and gold's advantage to 16-1. Fourteen Salisbury batters came to the plate in the inning with four of them hitting doubles, three of which were back-to-back-to-back. Barry, Simon Palenchar, and Colby Dean each tallied doubles one after the other to plate three different runners in the inning.
Oster finished the game going seven innings, allowing just five hits, and one run while striking out 10 of the 26 batters he faced.
Game 2: Salisbury 2, St. Mary's 1
In game two St Mary's jumped out to an early 1-0 lead but the Sea Gulls battled back to tie the game in the bottom half of the third inning and then took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth.
Keith, who started the game and earned his third win of the season, had to battle in the first inning but bounced back to go three up and three down in three of the next four innings.
After the Seahawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third Meekins stepped to the plate in the bottom half of the inning to lead off for the Sea Gulls. He drew a walk and would advance to second on a fielder's choice during the next at-bat. Grasso came to the plate later in the inning knocking a triple down the right field line to plate Meekins and knot the game up at 1-1. Meekins would score what proved to be the winning run two innings later when LaBriola plated him on an infield single.
Grasso entered the game in the sixth inning and was masterful down the stretch not allowing a hit and striking out eight of the 14 batters he faced. He finished the game earning the save after a stellar three strikeout top of the ninth to help the Gulls claim the win and the series sweep.
Overall, the pitching staff finished the day combining to allow just nine hits and six runs while tallying 25 strikeouts and posting team ERA of 3.00. They also combined to force 13 force outs and 14 groundouts.
Offensively, Ardoin led the team with five RBI on the afternoon going 3-for-7 while also scoring two runs. Labriola finished the day going 3-for-8 scoring two runs and knocking in two while Colby Dean finished his day going 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Salisbury returns to action on Monday, March 13, in a CAC matchup with Marymount University. First pitch has been moved up by 90 minutes and is now scheduled for 2 p.m., due to the weather forecast for Monday night in the Mid-Atlantic region.