SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 18 Salisbury University baseball team opened the 2018 season—as well as the brand new Sea Gull Baseball Stadium—on Saturday morning against the top-ranked State University of New York at Cortland. A late run-scoring single by the Red Dragons would wind up being the difference, as the Sea Gulls fell, 5-4.
The morning started off with a pre-game stadium opening ceremony, which included ceremonial pitches thrown by Salisbury University President Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach and former head coach Robb Disbennett. Two other former head coaches— Doug Fleetwood and Deane Deshon—were also recognized as a part of the ceremonies.
The game kicked off quickly, with both teams scoring runs in the first frame. A passed ball and an error led to an unearned run for the Red Dragons in the top half, but was matched by the Sea Gulls in the bottom half when designated hitter Simon Palenchar hit a one-out single through the left side to score leadoff hitter Justin Meekins from third base.
Cortland answered quickly in the top half of the second when Colin BeVard lauched a three-run home run to straight-away centerfield for a 4-1 Red Dragon lead.
Salisbury would answer again in the bottom of the fifth inning. Singles by Meekins and Scott Ardoin, and a walk by Jack Barry, set up Jay Perry in a bases-loaded situation, which he made the best of with a bases-clearing double up the middle for a 4-4 tie.
Perry had another great chance to add to his offensive output in the bottom of the seventh inning when he launched a pitch towards straight away centerfield. The ball looked as if it were going drop in front of the fence and bring home Ardoin all the way from first base, but a spectacular catch by Cortland centerfielder Paul Dondero robbed the slugger of the go-ahead run.
It wasn't until the ninth inning that Cortland put its stamp on the game when Patrick Schetter came to the plate with two outs to face Sea Gull relief pitcher Connor Reeves. Schetter managed to sneak a single through the left side to score BeVard from second base to take the 5-4 lead.
The maroon and gold was unable to string together enough hits in the bottom of the inning to keep the game alive.
Starting pitcher Austin Heenan collected eight strikeouts over five innings to earn a no-decision.
The two teams will face off in game two of the weekend senior on Sunday, February 18. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.