HIGH POINT, N.C. – The sixth-ranked and top-seeded Salisbury University baseball team took an early five-run lead and built it all back late to beat the sixth-seeded Marymount (Va.) Saints, 10-5, in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament High Point Regional on Thursday afternoon at Truist Point.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sea Gulls found their swing early, erupting for five runs in the bottom of the second inning. Sky Rahill led off with a double to left, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Cameron Hyder groundout to make it 1-0.
- Matt Padeway followed with a walk, then after a strikeout Cullen McAuliffe singled and Justin Meekins brought home Padeway with an RBI base knock. Kavi Caster came up next and belted a towering three-run home run to right, his fourth of the year, putting SU in the driver's seat with a 5-0 lead.
- The Saints responded by mounting a five-run comeback over the next two frames. Alex Lemery was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth, then Bill Wojcik followed with a single to put men on the corners. Bobby Leitze hit into a sac fly to plate Lemery, and David Kurzro singled to put men back on first and third. Bryce Smith doubled home Wojcik, and Robby Cable's sac fly to right cut the SU lead to 5-3.
- Casey Baker legged out an infield single to lead off the top of the fifth and promptly stole second. After a walk and Lemery single loaded the bases, MU brought home two runs on back-to-back RBI groundouts by Wojcik and Leitze, knotting the game up at 5-5.
- Salisbury answered the Saints' rally by going back in front in the sixth. With two out and nobody on, Meekins poked a single through the left side to chase the MU starting pitcher. Caster followed by getting hit by the pitch, and both men advanced into scoring position on a balk. After a walk to Scott Cameron loaded the bases, Stephen Rice and Rahill were each plunked, forcing home two runs in the inning to make it 7-5 Sea Gulls.
- The knockout punch for SU came in the bottom of the eighth. Caster and Cameron pieced together back-to-back one-out singles to put men on the corners. After Caster was thrown out at the plate on an attempted squeeze bunt, Rahill took flight to right for a three-run hammer shot. Rahill's team lead-tying fifth homer of the season pushed the Sea Gull lead to its final margin of 10-5.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Sky Rahill sparked the Sea Gulls' first big rally and punctuated its final big inning. Rahill went 2-for-4 with a double, homer, two runs scored and four RBIs to lead the way for SU.
- Kavi Caster launched a three-run homer of his own and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three driven in. Both Caster and Rahill have homered in three of their last four games.
- Justin Meekins went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the leadoff slot, while Scott Cameron had three hits and scored a run and Cameron Hyder drove in a run on two hits.
- Corey Burton (1-0) earned his first win in relief for Salisbury. Burton allowed two runs on two hits over two innings, walking one and striking out none.
- Brock Hilligoss nailed down his first save with three scoreless innings to finish off the Saints, giving up just one hit and one walk while fanning two.
- Clayton Dwyer lasted four innings in his shortest start of the season. Dwyer allowed three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three.
MARYMOUNT GAME NOTES
- Alex Lemery and Bill Wojcik each had two hits and scored a run for the Saints, with Wojick picking up an RBI.
- Bobby Leitze drove in a pair of runs despite an 0-for-3 day at the plate.
- Ryan Bergenhagen (5-3) ran out of gas in the sixth and ended up on the short side of the decision. Bergenhagen surrendered six runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings, walking two and punching out five.
- The Sea Gulls will next play in Game 5 of the High Point Regional on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
- SU will take on the loser of third-seeded LaGrange and fourth-seeded Lynchburg, who are set to do battle on Thursday at 6 p.m.