SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 18 Salisbury University baseball team secured the top seed in next week's Capital Athletic Conference tournament with a sweep of its doubleheader against York College of Pennsylvania on Saturday at the SU Baseball Field on Senior Day.
With the top seed, the Sea Gulls will host an opening round game of the tournament on Tuesday, April 18 and all six teams in the field will come to Salisbury for the remainder of the double-elimination tournament between April 20 and 22. The hosting opportunity prolongs the competitive time at the SU Baseball Field, which will be demolished this summer, as a new stadium will be built just south of the current location.
The wind was blowing out on Saturday, opposite of the normal prevailing wind, and each team's offense took advantage with 14 home runs hit in the games, and 44 total runs scored.
Game 1: Salisbury 14, York 8
The Spartans opened the first game with back-to-back home runs off starting pitcher Jeff Oster. Grant Oberholtzer's leadoff home run got into the wind in left-center field, and was just out of the reach of a leaping Kyle Canavan. Logan Countryman followed with an opposite-field shot to right field for a 2-0 York lead.
The run of home runs continued in the second inning, but this this time is was the Sea Gulls that got into the act, as sophomore Jack Barry sent a solo shot the opposite way to right-center field, his team-leading ninth of the year, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
The one-run game held until Salisbury got to York starting pitcher Elliot Mortimer for a pair of hits and three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Canavan began things with a two-out bloop to center field before Justin Meekins walked. The plays set up senior Scott Ardoin, who sent a three-run home run – his first homer of the year – out of the yard, giving the Sea Gulls a 4-2 lead.
The Spartans retook the lead in the top of the sixth inning, coming up with their first hits since the game-opening home runs. A soft single to center and a bad-hop single up the middle set up Christian Bilan, who hit a three-run home run for a 5-4 York advantage.
The ball continued to fly in Salisbury's next at-bat, with Barry beginning things, drilling a ball down the third-base line before scoring on a shallow fly ball from Tom LaBriola, which dropped in center field to begin the sixth.
Salisbury added two more runs on Jay Perry's sixth home run of the year and Barry connected for his second of the day, a three-run blast, to put Salisbury ahead 12-5. The Sea Gulls sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, registering seven hits for its eight-run inning.
Oster remained perfect on the year, improving to 6-0 in the win, working seven innings while striking out five. Connor Reeves came on in relief, working two innings and striking out four.
Barry was 4-for-5 in the game, with four runs scored and four driven in, while five Sea Gulls had two hits as the win in the opener secured the CAC regular-season title for the Sea Gulls and the top see in the CAC tournament field.
Game 2: Salisbury 20, York 2
The offense got going early in the second game for Salisbury, putting together five hits in the bottom of the first inning to score eight runs.
Meekins was hit by a pitch to start the frame and advanced to third on a steal and wild pitch before scoring on Ardoin's single to center field. Another single from Barry and another hit batter loaded the bases for LaBriola.
The senior catcher shot a ball through the left side, scoring two runs. Salisbury added five more runs in the frame, highlighted by senior Robbie Jones' grand slam – his first home run of the year.
The offense was put in the position to take the early lead by Salisbury starting pitcher Micah Wells, who struck out the side in the top of the first. The senior retired the first five batters he faced, going six innings while giving up just four hits and two runs, on a pair of solo home runs. Wells struck out eight in the outing, garnering his fifth win.
The offense kept coming for the Sea Gulls, as they scored in each of the first four innings, hitting three home runs in the second game.
Jones drove in two runs as part of a three-run second inning, the senior was 2-for-4, driving in six runs in the game.
Perry's second home run of the day came in the fourth inning, setting off a four-run frame which also saw Ardoin's second of the day, this time a three-run shot which gave Salisbury a 16-2 lead.
The scoring was capped in the eighth inning, with four more runs on two hits.
With the regular season league title in hand, Head Coach Troy Brohawn substituted liberally in the latter stages of the second game, getting a number of players in the contest, leading to only five Sea Gulls with multiple hits, despite 18 total team hits. Perry led the way with a 3-for-3 performance, and three runs scored while Jones drove in six on his two hits and Ardoin, Grasso, and Keith each had two hits.
The Sea Gulls will host an opening round game of the CAC tournament on Tuesday, taking on the sixth-seeded University of Mary Washington, which got into the tournament with a doubleheader sweep of Frostburg State University on Saturday. Tuesday's first pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.