SALISBURY, Md. – Kavi Caster hit for the cycle as the fifth-ranked and top-seeded Salisbury University baseball team steamrolled its way into the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) Championship Series, besting the fifth-seeded Southern Virginia Knights, 16-0, in Game 2 of the best-of-three semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sea Gulls wasted no time putting runs on the board, scoring in each of their first five innings. Justin Meekins led off the bottom of the first with an infield single, then Kavi Caster banged an RBI double off the right center wall. After a flyout, Stephen Rice was hit by a pitch to put two men on, then Caster and Rice executed a double steal and Caster scored on an airmailed throw from the catcher, making it 2-0 SU.
- Sky Rahill hit into an RBI groundout to bring home a third run in the inning, then a hit batsman, Jacob Ference single, walk and Cullen McAuliffe hit-by-pitch forced in another, putting the Sea Gulls up 4-0 after one.
- Caster kept the party going in the second by slashing a triple down the right field line to lead off. Rice in turn tripled Caster home two batters later, and Rahill rolled into another RBI groundout to make it 6-0 Salisbury.
- Ference reached on an error to lead off the third, eventually scoring on a sac fly by McAuliffe. Then in the fourth, Caster beat out a leadoff infield hit. After a fielder's choice and flyout, Rahill parked a two-run home run over the right center wall, pushing the SU advantage to 9-0.
- In the fifth, Ference led off with a double and took third on a groundout. After a foul out, Meekins drew a walk, bringing up Caster. On an 0-2 pitch, Caster blasted a no-doubter over the right field wall, completing his cycle with a three-run round-tripper to make it 12-0 Salisbury.
- Rice capped the four-run fifth with an RBI double, scoring Scott Cameron to put SU on top 13-0.
- The Sea Gulls added three more in the seventh on a Christian Murphy RBI single, Dom Frigiola single-plus-error, and Adam Tommer RBI double, giving the game its final 16-0 margin.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Kavi Caster finished his cycle by the fifth inning, notching a first-inning double, second-inning triple, fourth-inning single and fifth-inning homer. He went 4-for-4 on the day with four RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base.
- Stephen Rice went 2-for-3 with a double, triple, two runs and two RBIs.
- Sky Rahill drove in four runs on the day, including two on his fourth-inning homer.
- Jacob Ference finished 2-for-3 with a double, stolen base and two runs scored.
- Twenty Sea Gull position players saw action in the game, with the entire SU starting lineup on the bench by the end of the contest.
- Jackson Balzan (6-1) carved up the Knights all afternoon for his sixth win, scattering three hits across six scoreless innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Both Sea Gull starting pitchers in the two-game series struck out 10 batters, with Clayton Dwyer hitting double digits over seven innings on Friday.
- Robbie Hollenbeck, Andrew Abrams and Ethan Sarosi each pitched a scoreless inning in relief, finishing off Salisbury's fourth team shutout of the year and third in its last five games.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA GAME NOTES
- Will Parker, Nick Daynes and Mitchell Smith each singled, accounting for the Knights' only three hits of the game.
- Parker was shelled early to take the loss for SVU, giving up six runs on five hits over two innings.
- The Sea Gulls now set their sights on the inaugural C2C Tournament title next weekend. Top-seeded Salisbury will host the best-of-three championship series on May 21-22, against second-seeded Christopher Newport or third-seeded Mary Washington.
- First pitch of Game 1 from Sea Gull Baseball Stadium is set for Friday at 3 p.m. with coverage beginning on the Sea Gull Sports Network (SGSN) at 2:45 p.m.
- Game 2 will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Game 3 (if necessary) on Saturday at 2 p.m.