HIGH POINT, N.C. – Sky Rahill hit a walkoff two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap the sixth-ranked and top-seeded Salisbury University baseball team's third comeback of the day, lifting the Sea Gulls over the third-seeded LaGrange Panthers, 7-6, in a wild NCAA Tournament game in the High Point Regional at Truist Point.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Panthers jumped ahead almost instantly as Rhett Mixon tagged a leadoff home run on the game's second pitch. Salisbury responded quickly as Justin Meekins led off the bottom of the first with a single and stole second base, eventually coming around on a flyout and Scott Cameron RBI groundout to tie it at 1-1.
- LaGrange put SU behind the eight ball in the top of the second. With two down and nobody on, Rhett Hebert punched a single to right. After back-to-back walks, Cael Chatham belted a grand slam down the right field line, surging the Panthers ahead 5-1.
- The Sea Gulls began chipping away at the four-run deficit in the bottom of the second. Cameron Hyder got on with a one-out single, then Jacob Ference singled to put men on the corners. Luke Weddell hit into a fielder's choice and beat out a would-be double play to allow Hyder to score, making it 5-2 LaGrange.
- Salisbury continued its comeback with a run each in the third and fourth. Kavi Caster doubled to lead off the third and scored two batters later on a two-sacker by Stephen Rice. In the fourth, Weddell and Cullen McAuliffe reached on back-to-back one-out walks, then after a flyout Caster hit a grounder that ate up the LC second baseman, allowing Weddell to come home and get the Sea Gulls back within one at 5-4.
- Weddell found himself in the middle of things again in the bottom of the sixth, leading off with a ground-rule double to right center. Salisbury put him on an assembly line from there, with McAuliffe bunting Weddell to third and Meekins bringing him home on a sac fly to right, tying the game at 5-5.
- After the Sea Gulls failed to score with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, the Panthers took their third lead of the game in the eighth. Trey Pearce doubled to lead off, then after a sac bunt, pinch-hitter McKinley Erves rolled a go-ahead RBI single through the right side, scoring Pearce to make it 6-5 LC.
- Undaunted, Salisbury staged one last rally in the bottom of the ninth. Cameron pelted a leadoff single into left, then Rice laid a sac bunt down the third base line that the Panther third baseman threw over second base, allowing both men to advance into scoring position. That brought up Sky Rahill, who lifted a single over the drawn-in infield and into left center, bringing home Cameron and Rice with the tying and winning runs as the Sea Gull dugout spilled out onto the infield in jubilation.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Sky Rahill played the hero for the Sea Gulls. The red-hot first baseman finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs, driving in both runs on his walkoff single in the ninth. Rahill has now driven in at least one run in six straight games, tallying 15 rib-eyes over that span.
- Luke Weddell brought home one run and scored two more during Salisbury's four-run comeback in the middle innings. Weddell finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
- Cameron Hyder went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Justin Meekins, Scott Cameron and Stephen Rice each had a hit and an RBI.
- Corey Burton (2-0) earned his second straight win out of the bullpen. Burton allowed one run on three hits over 2.1 innings, entering in the seventh and stranding the tying run on second base. Burton walked none and struck out two.
- Xavier Marmol rebounded after a rough two frames to give the Sea Gulls a 5.1-inning start, allowing five runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
- Rahill's game-winning, game-ending hit gave Salisbury its first walkoff victory of the season and just its second win in a one-run game.
LAGRANGE GAME NOTES
- Rhett Mixon went 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored out of the leadoff slot for the Panthers.
- Cael Chatham's second-inning grand slam was his eighth home run of the season; he finished 1-for-4.
- Spencer Douches (2-2) proved unable to nail down the final three outs for LC. Douches allowed two runs on four hits over the final two-plus innings.
- Starter Dalton Brooks lasted five innings on the hill, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits.
- The Sea Gulls stay on the winners' side of the bracket and will move onto Game 7 of the High Point Regional on Saturday at 11 a.m.
- Salisbury will play the winner of the Friday evening matchup between fifth-seeded Birmingham-Southern and fourth-seeded Lynchburg.
- A win in Game 7 would advance the Sea Gulls to Championship Sunday. With a loss, SU would have to play in Game 9 on Saturday at 6 p.m. against the winner of a 2:30 p.m. matchup between second-seeded Washington & Jefferson and the loser of the BSC-Lynchburg game.