SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 15 Salisbury University baseball team captured its 15th Capital Athletic Conference championship Saturday afternoon, defeating Penn State University-Harrisburg, 10-4. It marks the third straight title for the Sea Gulls, who have now won the tournament six of the past seven seasons.
The Sea Gulls (33-10) entered the day needing only one win to lock up the title, while the Lions (31-14) would have needed to win two straight after losing to Salisbury, 14-0, on Friday afternoon.
Three more Sea Gull runs would cross the plate in the second inning, including a solo home run by Matt Padeway on the first pitch he saw to lead off the inning. A Meekins single scored Colby Dean from second base a few at-bats later. Scott Ardoin drove home Jay Perry for the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to straight away center field.
The Lions entered the bottom of the eighth inning down six runs, but quickly cut the deficit to only four before bringing Bret Williams, the league's leader in home runs and RBI, to the plate with the bases loaded. Williams managed to drive a run in on an infield single, but a strikeout and ground out in the following two at-bats limited the damage and the Sea Gulls were able to escape the inning with the 7-4 lead.
The maroon and gold would score three more runs in the ninth inning to pad its lead on singles by Meekins and Perry, and a steal of home by Dean.
Reliever Wes Whitlock helped clinch the title while capturing his first save of the season when he got the Lions' Casey Winters to fly out to right field for the final out of the game.
Starting Pitcher Austin Heenan (10-3) earned the win, pitching 6 1/3 innings, striking out five batters and allowing only two hits.
For the tournament the Sea Gulls won all five of their games, driving home a total of 49 runs while surrendering only seven. They earned three shutout wins and at no point during the series did they find themselves down in the run column.
With the win, Salisbury earns the CAC's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament which is set to begin on Thursday, May 17. It will be the Sea Gulls' 24th appearance and 19th straight trip to the NCAA tournament. The tournament field will be officially announced late Sunday night.