ASHLAND, Va. – The seventh-ranked Salisbury University baseball gave back a five-run lead but rebuilt it late at No. 12 Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets, claiming a 9-5 midweek win on Wednesday afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sea Gulls put up two runs in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Justin Meekins led off with a walk and stole second base, then Cameron Hyder followed with a walk of his own.
- After a strikeout, Luke Weddell drew his own free pass to load the bases. R-MC starter Andrew Ramos then committed a balk to force in one run, then Ramos threw wild to the plate, allowing another run to score to put SU up 2-0.
- Jacob Ference homered in the second to make it a 3-0 Sea Gull lead. In the third, Weddell managed a one-out single and eventually took third on a wild pitch and flyout. Jimmy Adkins singled Weddell home, then Trent Saunders singled and Ference managed a base hit of his own to plate Adkins and give Salisbury a 5-0 lead.
- The Randolph-Macon bats woke up in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs to cut the deficit to 5-4. Ethan Iannuzzi's RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth brought the Yellow Jackets even with the Sea Gulls, 5-5.
- Salisbury didn't wait long to tip the see-saw back in its favor. Kavi Caster led off the fifth with a single, then three batters later Ference slashed a triple down the right-field line, scoring Caster to put the Sea Gulls back up 6-5.
- The Sea Gulls got their first two runners on in the sixth on a Meekins single and Hyder hit-by-pitch. After a sac bunt and a groundout, Caster ripped a single to left, scoring both runners to make it 8-5.
- Salisbury added a final insurance run in the seventh on a Brady O'Neil homer, giving the game its final 9-5 margin. The Sea Gull bullpen fought out of jams in the seventh and ninth, stranding two R-MC runners in each frame.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Jacob Ference finished a double shy of the cycle for Salisbury, going 3-for-5 with a triple, homer and three RBIs.
- Kavi Caster went 3-for-4 with a double, run and two RBIs while Justin Meekins and Cameron Hyder each score two runs out of the one- and two-holes.
- Brock Hilligoss (1-0) earned the win in relief for the Sea Gulls, retiring all five batters he faced in 1.2 perfect innings.
- Hilligoss opened up a game-closing stretch of five scoreless innings for the SU bullpen, with Clayton Dwyer, Benji Thalheimer, Xavier Marmol and Jimmy Adkins combining to shut R-MC down from the fifth inning on.
- Jackson Balzan made his third start in three official games for Salisbury. He allowed four runs on three hits in three innings, walking one and striking out three.
RANDOLPH-MACON GAME NOTES
- Grayson sparked R-MC from the nine-hole, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
- Ethan Iannuzzi, Mike Nickles and Jacob Selden all had a double and an RBI for the Yellow Jackets.
- RJ Payne (0-1) absorbed the loss in relief for R-MC, allowing the go-ahead Salisbury run in the fifth. Starter Andrew Ramos lasted just one-third of an inning, giving up two runs on four walks, a wild pitch and a balk.
- Salisbury returns home to face another ranked foe, playing host to No. 9 Rowan on Saturday afternoon.
- First pitch from Sea Gull Baseball Stadium is set for 2 p.m. with coverage beginning on the Sea Gull Sports Network (SGSN) at 1:45 p.m.