SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 1 seed Salisbury University baseball team was eliminated from the Capital Athletic Conference tournament by No. 4 seed Penn State University-Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon. Despite evening the series at one win apiece with a 26-9 victory in the first game of the day, the Sea Gulls couldn't transfer the momentum into the weekend's final game, falling to the Lions, 10-5.
Game 1: Salisbury 26, Penn St.-Harrisburg, 9
The Sea Gulls entered Saturday needing to win two games to advance to championship weekend after dropping their first matchup to the Lions on Friday afternoon, 5-0.
They got off to a solid start, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning that was highlighted by a Will Gutekunst two-run single up the middle, to make it 4-0.
An RBI single by Jimmy Adkins in the second inning pushed the Salisbury lead to 5-0, but the Lions answered in the bottom half of the inning by scoring three runs to close the gap to 5-3.
Jimmy Monaghan drove home two runs in the fourth inning with a double into right-center field to push Salisbury's run total to seven, but a sacrifice fly for the Lions in the fourth inning kept them within reach at 7-4.
The maroon and gold added four more runs in the fifth inning, this time with a Matt Padeway two-run double down the right-field line and an Adkins sacrifice fly deep enough into right field to score both Padeway from third base and Cameron Hyder from second to make it 11-4.
The Lions kept clawing back however, scoring the next four runs in the fifth and sixth innings to shrink their deficit to 11-8.
A Brad Haas double in the seventh inning scored two more runs for the Sea Gulls, but it was in the eighth inning where they finally broke open a lead the Lions wouldn't be able to dig out of. Salisbury hitters combined to drive in seven more runs, including a pair of two-run singles by Padeway and Jay Perry to take the lead to 21-8.
A solo homer run by Chase Smith in the bottom half of the inning was the only other run the Lions could muster, as the Sea Gulls finished the game with five more runs in the ninth.
Xavier Marmol picked up his conference-leading ninth win after receiving the starting nod. The freshman got through five innings, allowing four earned runs while striking out seven of the batters he faced. Marmol also continues to lead the league with a 2.47 earned run average through 58 1/3 innings of work. Jason McDonough, Daniel Frake, Andrew Rosso, and AJ Korczynski each completed an inning of work from the bullpen, combining to allow only two more runs to score on four hits to finish the game.
Game 2: Penn St.-Harrisburg 10, Salisbury 5
In the second game, it was the Lions (31-11-1) who got out to the hot start and held the lead throughout. Harrisburg scored three times on a pair of hits in the first inning, with Ryan McSorley's single driving home two.
Salisbury (34-8-1) answered in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly by Meekins, scoring Hyder.
The teams traded runs in the third, as the Lions scored on a solo home run before another sacrifice fly – this time by Monaghan – plated Meekins, making the score 4-2.
Harrisburg pushed the lead to 5-2 in the fourth and added three more in the sixth to open things up.
The Sea Gulls pushed home single runs in the sixth, eighth, and ninth to close out Salisbury's scoring, but could not get within striking distance in the closing innings. Haas drove in two of the runs and Jack Barry knocked in another with a double.
The Lions advance to next week's CAC championship series at Christopher Newport University, while Salisbury will await the announcement of the field for the 2019 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament, looking for an at-large bid. The selection show will take place on Monday, May 13, beginning at noon.