Baseball to take on St. Joseph’s (L.I.) in first round of NCAA regional

Baseball to take on St. Joseph’s (L.I.) in first round of NCAA regional

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University baseball team will travel to Auburn, New York to take on St. Joseph's College-Long Island in round one of the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament at Falcon Stadium on Thursday, May 17 at 7:45 p.m.

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How we got here

The Sea Gulls (33-10) advanced to the NCAA tournament as an automatic qualifier after defeating Penn State University-Harrisburg in two games in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament and will represent the No. 2 seed in the Auburn, New York regional. Salisbury swept through the CAC tournament, winning all five of its contests, including three shutouts. A 10-4 win over the Lions clinched the conference title for the third straight year.

How they got here

The Golden Eagles (26-16) advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years after defeating the United States Merchant Marine Academy 6-5 in 11 innings to win the Skyline Conference championship and earn an automatic bid. They will represent the No. 7 seed in the Auburn regional.

Scouting the Golden Eagles

On offense, the Golden Eagles are led by junior infielder Paul Britt. Britt leads the Skyline Conference with seven home runs, 40 runs scored, and a .410 batting average. He currently ranks third in the conference with 36 runs batted in and has also shown speed on the base paths with 12 stolen bases this season. On the mound, St. Joseph's has five different pitchers who have made at least four starts this season. Juniors Joseph Murphy and Anthony Papa each have won five games. Murphy has struck out 46 batters through 49 innings and holds a 2.57 ERA, while Papa has collected 43 strikeouts in 46 innings of work with a 2.54 earned run average.

Small Ball

Salisbury Head Coach Troy Brohawn has shown that he's not afraid to play small ball, no matter the hitter or game situation. He has called on all of his players to lay down sacrifice bunts at many points throughout the season, and it shows as Salisbury ranks third in the country with 58 total sacrifices bunts. Senior Kyle Canavan leads the team with nine. Sophomore Justin Meekins is right behind Canavan with eight sacrifice bunts.

Blistering Bats

The Sea Gulls struggled out of the gate offensively in 2018, going 10-7 to start the season, but have gone 23-3 since. The turning point came in a 13-1 win over Franklin & Marshall College on March 27, which also kicked off a 14-game winning streak for the Sea Gulls. Salisbury holds a plus-146 run differential since the Franklin & Marshall game that includes four shutouts. The team is currently riding an eight-game winning streak entering the NCAA tournament.

What's next?

The winner of Thursday night's contest will play the winner of No. 3 seed University of Southern Maine and No. 6 seed Amherst College on Friday night at 7:45 p.m.  The losers of each of those contests will face off in an elimination game on Friday at 1:15 p.m.

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