|Brian Green couldn't get the bunt down in the
fourth inning, so instead he laced an RBI double to left
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
By Jim Dixon
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - In a day fit for a Sea Gull, Salisbury staved off elimination with a 10-3 win against Kean on Day 2 of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. Salisbury used a solid defense and a pesky offense to advance, as Nick Walls had two diving catches in right field and the team executed three sacrifice hits.
"We played poorly yesterday and dug ourselves a hole," siad Salisbury coach Doug Fleetwood. "Our kids came in today with a great attitude today and we did the things we had to do to be successful."
Kean is the first team eliminated from the Baseball Championship and has now gone 1-6 in the Championship round since winning the 2007 national title.
"Everytime we come here we remember 2007," said Kean head coach Neil Loviero. "When you lose, you appreciate it even more. We know we have to be at our very best but we did not play to our capabilities."
Salisbury roared out of the gates with three runs in the home half of the first inning. Freshman center fielder Bill Root was hit by Kean starter Kevin Herget to lead off the game and moved to second on a Ken O'Neill sacrifice. Brian Green singled home Root and came around to score on Devon Quaglietta's triple to deep right center. Salisbury coach Doug Fleetwood called for the squeeze and Quaglietta scored on a stolen base as Herget's pitch to the plate was wild.
Kean got into more trouble in the second. Matt Beck led off the inning with a double off the left center wall. A walk to John Schiotis and a bunt single by Root loaded the bases. O'Neill moved everyone up 90 feet with an infield single. Brian Green's single to left made increased the Salisbury lead to 5-0.
Salisbury starter Dustin Herbert got into trouble in the fourth. After starting the game with three no-hit innings, Lee Cavico got Kean's first hit of the game through the right side. Ken Gregory and Eddie Jennings each singled through the right side to load the bases. With the Salisbury second baseman playing deep in the hole, Schiotis turned what looked like a run-scoring single to a inning-ending groundout.
"All day we had a great defense," said Herbert. "In a situation like [getting out of a jam] changes the game. As a pitcher you want to get a ground ball and Schiotis made a great play."
Root was hit by another pitch to lead off the fourth, his second of the game. O'Neill moved Root to second with Salisbury's third sacrifice and a Green double score Root. After another sacrifice bunt, Tyler Bennet drove in Green with a single to center.
Kean got on the board in the sixth inning. Carrano led off the
inning with a double to center field. An infield single off
the glove of the third baseman put runners on the corners. Carrano
scored on a nifty double play turned by O'Neill.
Salisbury added three runs in their final two innings. In the seventh. Quaglietta doubled and was replaced with pinch runner Chris Gentry. Gentry scored on Chris Conner's triple. Schiotis and Root scored the Sea Gulls' final runs in the eighth inning.
Kean added a run on an error by the third baseman in the eighth and Kyle Walker single.
Cavico led the Cougars with a three hit day and ends the tournament with five hits in seven at-bats. Green was 3-for-5 with three RBIs on the day. Root, O'Neill, and Quagiletta had two hit games as the top four batters were a combined 9-for-15.
"It is always easier to swing when there are runners in scoring position," said Green. "I stayed back today and it worked out pretty good."
Herbert earned the win with an 8.1 inning effort. Herbert allowed three runs, two earned, on nine hits with six strikeouts. Drew Baldwin faced the final two batters, striking out both to finish the game. Herget took the loss, his first of the year, allowing seven runs on eight hits. Sam Fourre pitched the final three innings for Kean.
"When you get to this point of the year, it is the passion and urgency that separates the good team," said Fleetwood.