SALISBURY, Md. – The sixth-ranked and top-seeded Salisbury University baseball team won its 17th conference championship and the first in the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) era, pummeling the second-seeded Christopher Newport Captains, 20-4, to sweep the best-of-three C2C Championship Series on Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sea Gulls and Captains traded a flurry of punches in the first inning. Salisbury came to bat first as the visiting team for the game. Kavi Caster singled with one out, then after a walk and Stephen Rice single, Sky Rahill brought home the game's first run on an RBI groundout. Cameron Hyder followed with a run-scoring single, and a second run came in on the play after an error. Jacob Ference then singled home Hyder from third, giving the Sea Gulls an early 4-0 lead.
- CNU responded with a four-run first of its own. Connor Clark and Jonathan Fisher led off with back-to-back singles and advanced into scoring position on groundout. After a Kyle Schofield groundout to bring home the first run, Jay Cassady beat out an infield hit to score Fisher and make it 4-2.
- After an error at third loaded the bases, Alec Reilly worked a walk to force in a run, then Brayden Hodges punched another RBI infield single to third base, bringing the Captains even at 4-4 despite having just one hit leave the infield.
- From there, the Sea Gulls turned on the jets and never looked back. Cullen McAuliffe led off the second with a single, and eventually Caster and Scott Cameron worked back-to-back two-out walks to load the bases. Rice doubled home a pair to make it 6-4 SU and knock the CNU starter out of the game, then Rahill hit into an RBI groundout and Hyder singled home Rice, putting the Sea Gulls up 8-4 after another four-run inning.
- The opening flourish proved a sign of things to come as the Sea Gulls put up crooked numbers in seven of their nine turns at bat. Salisbury scored three in the fourth inning on a Luke Weddell RBI single and Justin Meekins two-run base knock, making it 11-4.
- SU plated two each in the fifth and sixth. The fifth inning runs came home on a Ference bases-loaded walk and Weddell sac fly, while Rice singled home both of the sixth inning tallies to push the lead to 15-4.
- Ference, Weddell and McAuliffe each picked up an RBI in the eighth on two singles and a sac fly, respectively. In the ninth, Hyder laced a two-run triple down the right field line to get it up to 20 and give the game its final margin.
- After surviving a shaky first inning, Salisbury starting pitcher Xavier Marmol shut down the Captains the rest of the way, at one point retiring 13 in a row. He struck out Nathan Clements to finish off a complete game in the ninth inning, setting off a wild celebration at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Xavier Marmol (3-0) pitched the first complete game for the Sea Gulls this season, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits over the full nine innings while holding CNU off the scoreboard over the final eight. Marmol walked three and struck out eight on 132 pitches.
- Stephen Rice led the vaunted SU attack on the day, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored.
- Cameron Hyder finished 3-for-6 with a triple, three runs and four RBIs.
- Jacob Ference and Luke Weddell each drove in three runs, while Justin Meekins finished with three hits and two RBIs.
- All nine Salisbury starters got hits with seven men putting up multi-hit games as part of the Sea Gulls' 21-hit onslaught. SU eclipsed 20 runs for the third time this season.
- The conference championship is the 17th in Sea Gull program history and the first since SU won the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) title in 2018. The title is the fourth in seven seasons (six complete) under head coach Troy Brohawn.
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT GAME NOTES
- Jonathan Fisher went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Captains' only multi-hit game.
- Jay Cassady finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
- Dylan Weber (6-3) got knocked out in the second inning to take the loss, allowing eight runs on six hits in 1.1 frames.
- The Sea Gulls are now headed to their 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament, a streak that dates back to the 2000 season and stands as the second-longest active tournament streak in Division III.
- SU will learn its regional matchup and destination during the NCAA Division III Baseball Selection Show, which will air at NCAA.com on Sunday night at approximately 10 p.m.