FROSTBURG, Md. – The No. 17 Salisbury University baseball team captured the program's 13th Capital Athletic Conference championship on Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 12 Frostburg State University, 9-8. The Sea Gulls began the day with an 11-10 victory over Marymount (Va.) University to advance to the championship contest on the final day of the championship weekend at Frostburg.
Salisbury 11, Marymount 10
The Sea Gulls jumped out to a quick lead with six runs in the first-two innings of the game. After senior Jeff Oster set the Saints down in order to start the game, Salisbury got to work in the top of the first inning.
The Gulls quickly got two on the corners with no outs on a walk and a fielder's choice, allowing junior Tom LaBriola to drive home senior Kyle Goodwin on a sacrifice fly. Senior Jake Dmiterchik then doubled into left to put runners on second and third, allowing junior Pete Grasso to plate both on a two-bagger down the left-field line for a 3-0 lead.
Goodwin and senior Alex Lipman again got the offense going, starting the second inning with a single and a walk, respectively. After Goodwin came in on a fielder's choice, Dmiterchik drove in his first run, pushing a single into right. Grasso again found success down the left-field line for another double, tallying his team-leading third RBI to double the Gulls' lead to 6-0 to cap the early outburst. Grasso and Dmiterchik both collected three hits in the game, along with Goodwin to pace the offense.
Marymount got on the board with a run in the third, before adding another in the fifth to cut Salisbury's lead to four, but senior Tyler Hrycak answered in the bottom of the fifth, blasting his sixth home run of the season. The two-run shot put the Gulls lead back to six at 8-2.
However, the Saints came back with eight runs over the next three innings to take a 10-8 lead in the top of the eighth inning. The Marymount surge was powered by two home runs, combining for five of the runs.
The lead was short lived, however, as Salisbury responded with three runs in its half of the eighth. Goodwin led off with a double, before Lipman singled to again set up runners on the corners with no outs. LaBriola took advantage with a single for his second RBI. After loading the bases, a run on a double play and a Saint error allowed the Sea Gulls to gain the 11-10 final score.
Senior Connor Shockley earned his third win of the season, coming in for the final 2 2/3 innings and striking out two.
Goodwin and Lipman led the team with three runs, each, while LaBriola notched two.
With the win, the Sea Gulls created the ideal situation, moving on to the CAC championship game with no losses in the CAC tournament and only needing one win to capture the conference title.
Salisbury 9, Frostburg 8
Salisbury again jumped out to an early lead with a four-run second inning, while Grasso held the Bobcats to only one hit through the first three innings.
Grasso walked, followed by a bunt single by sophomore Brad Keith and a Bobcat error to load the bases with no outs in the second. Sophomore Scott Ardoin walked the first run in, before Goodwin singled through the right side to drive in two runs. The hit was just the start of a big day by Goodwin, as he finished 3-for-4 at the plate with two home runs, four RBI, and two runs scored.
Lipman drove in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to take the 4-0 lead.
Goodwin smacked his first homer in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-0 on a solo shot. The hit began a streak in which the teams combined for only home runs on seven-straight scoring plays.
Zach Keeler hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to get Frostburg on the board and cut the lead to 5-2.
The power continued in the sixth, as Ardoin hit a solo home run, but Devin Bell hit his first of the day to drive in two runs and get the Bobcats to within two at 6-4.
Goodwin's second bomb led off the eighth inning, before Dmiterchik got in on the action for the second solo homer of the inning for the Gulls, bumping the lead to 8-4.
Bells' second long shot in the bottom of the frame cut the lead back to three, but Salisbury was able to add its final run in the ninth, which proved to be vital.
After freshman Jack Barry walked and Hrycak doubled, the Bobcats intentionally walked Goodwin to load the bases. The move allowed Barry to come home on a wild pitch for the 9-5 lead.
Frostburg began its comeback attempt in its final at-bat with three runs on two singles and an RBI ground out, but freshman Ian Scheidemann struck out Connor Cooper to end the game and grab the conference title.
Grasso earned the win in the game, pitching five innings and striking out eight, while Scheidemann picked up the save in four innings of work to close out the game. He tallied four strikeouts and allowed only two earned runs.
The championship is the first for the Gulls with Head Coach Troy Brohawn at the helm for his second season, while the program has won four of the last five CAC titles. With the win, the Gulls earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament, beginning on Wednesday, May 18 with the regional tournaments
The Sea Gulls will next play Stevenson University in a non-conference single game at the SU Baseball Field on Tuesday, April 26. The game is set for 3:30 p.m.