CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The sixth-ranked Salisbury University baseball team is two wins away from bringing home its first-ever national championship. The Sea Gulls will square off against the 19th-ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) Tommies in the best-of-three final round of the 2021 NCAA Division III College World Series, beginning on Monday at 4:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. CDT at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
SETTING THE STAGE
THE SEA GULL FILE
- Winners of 12 in a row, Salisbury is a perfect 7-0 since the start of the NCAA Tournament, including 3-0 in Cedar Rapids.
- The Sea Gulls, 32-4, opened the College World Series with an 11-1 win over Cortland State on Friday night. On Saturday SU outlasted Wheaton (Mass.) 11-9, and on Sunday the Sea Gulls rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth to eliminate Cortland State 11-8 and reach the championship round.
- Salisbury played the fourth and final game all three days at Veterans Memorial Stadium, with each game starting hours after its originally scheduled first pitch time and Saturday and Sunday's games ending well after midnight local time.
- This is the first-ever national championship series appearance for the Sea Gulls. The deepest SU had ever gone at the College World Series before this season was in 2001 in Grand Chute, Wisc., when the maroon and gold made it to the second-to-last day of the tournament and finished fourth.
THE TOMMIE FILE
- Playing in its final season in Division III before making the jump to Division I in 2021-22, St. Paul-based University of St. Thomas (Minn.) is looking to add a third Division III national championship to its trophy case.
- The Tommies, 37-8, have won six games in a row, including five straight in come-from-behind fashion. Like the Sea Gulls, UST has also won all three games in Cedar Rapids. The Toms knocked off Adrian 7-5 on Friday and then upset top-ranked Washington University (St. Louis) twice in a row, winning 8-7 in 12 innings on Saturday and 6-4 on Sunday.
- St. Thomas has won two national championships in program history, first in 2001 – the same year Salisbury made its deepest College World Series run – and most recently in 2009. The Toms also finished runner-up in 1999 and 2000 and placed third in 2012 and 2014.
- This is the first-ever meeting between Salisbury and St. Thomas. The teams never squared off in the 2001 College World Series despite both making deep runs.
- Much like the Sea Gulls, the Tommies profile as "a singles-hitting team that loves the sac bunt." St. Thomas and Salisbury rank No. 1 and No. 2 nationally in sacrifice bunts, with UST laying down 57 in 45 games (1.27/game) and SU 53 in 36 games (1.47/game).
- Salisbury and St. Thomas also share similar national rankings in several other categories, including:
- ERA – UST 2.52 (fourth), SU 2.92 (10th)
- Fielding Percentage – SU .979 (third), UST .974 (11th)
- Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio – SU 3.24 (12th), UST 3.10 (17th)
- WHIP – SU 1.13 (seventh), UST 1.13 (eighth)
- One key difference between the Sea Gulls and Tommies is scoring prowess. Salisbury averages 10.1 runs per game, good for fifth in the nation, and has scored 11 runs in all three of its College World Series games. St. Thomas averages 5.9 runs per game, ranking 211th in Division III, and has averaged seven runs per game in Cedar Rapids.
GAME SCHEDULE (Eastern/Central Time)
MONDAY, JUNE 7
Game 1 – St. Thomas vs. Salisbury, 4:30/3:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, JUNE 8
Game 2 – Salisbury vs. St. Thomas, 12:00 p.m./11:00 a.m.
Game 3 (if necessary) – St. Thomas vs. Salisbury, 30 minutes after Game 2