SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 18 Salisbury University baseball team claimed a pivotal victory in the Capital Athletic Conference playoff race defeating Christopher Newport University 7-2 to take a two game lead with two games left to play in the regular season.
After a quick first inning the Sea Gulls (24-8, 15-1 CAC) found their offensive rhythm, tacking on three runs in the bottom half of the second. After two quick outs Jay Perry stepped up to the plate and knocked a single into center field giving Brad Keith a runner on base. Keith hit a double the opposite way, moving both himself and Perry into scoring position.
Kyle Canavan took full advantage of the runners in scoring position smashing a two-run RBI single into center to open the scoring. A few batter later Justin Meekins stretched the maroon and gold lead knocking an RBI single to right plating Canavan for the 3-0 lead.
Meekins continued to stymie the Captains (23-13, 13-3 CAC) starting pitcher, Thomas Packert, when he launched his second home run of the season. Starring down a 3-1 count Meekins got a ball up in the swirling wind that carried just over the right field wall to push the Salisbury advantage to five, 5-0.
That was all the insurance that Pete Grasso needed as he was dealing throughout the contest. Grasso notched his fifth win of the season going the distance. He allowed eight hits over nine innings of work and two runs, one of which was earned, while striking out nine batters.
After facing five batters in the top of the first inning Grasso faced a total of nine batters in the ensuing three innings and didn't allow a run until the seventh inning. Four separate times in the game he forced the Christopher Newport offense to go three up and three down as well as forcing the Captains to leave eight runners stranded throughout.
Offensively the Sea Gulls were much better combining for 14 hits and seven runs as seven different players tallied hits including five with multi-hit games. Canavan led the offensive attack going 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Meekins posted a team-high three RBI alongside a 2-for-4 performance at the plate and one run scored while Grasso finished the game 3-for-5.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, April 15 when it hosts York College of Pennsylvania in not only the final regular season series of the year but also the last regular season series to be played at the SU Baseball Field. The Sea Gulls will also honor their seniors before the start of game one. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.