SALISBURY, Md. – In another classic back-and-forth affair between longtime rivals, the top-ranked Salisbury University baseball team rallied from five runs down to force extra innings, but the second-ranked Cortland State Red Dragons scored in the top of the 10th and held on to win 10-9 on Sunday afternoon at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Just like on Friday, the Red Dragons found their rhythm at the plate early. Hunter Holliday worked a one-out walk in the top of the first inning and stole second, then Scott Giordano singled him home to break the ice. After Giordano stole second and took third on a flyout, Matt Bruno hit a grounder to short, but Stephen Rice's throw to first bounced short and Giordano came in to make it 2-0 Cortland.
- After stranding a pair in the bottom of the first, the Sea Gulls put together another scoring opportunity in the second. Patrick Campbell lined a two-out single, then in his first career at-bat Josh Barke powered a liner to second that skipped over the wall for a ground-rule double, advancing Campbell to third. The Red Dragons intentionally walked Kavi Caster to set up a force at any base, and Dom Frigiola popped out to second to leave them loaded.
- Salisbury cashed in on another opportunity in the fifth. Frigiola sparked the rally with a one-out single, then after a flyout and back-to-back hit batsmen loaded the bases with two out, Ben Anderson lashed a double to left, scoring two to tie it up at 2-2.
- The tie game was short-lived as Cortland immediately answered in the sixth. Antonio Pragana beat out an infield hit to lead off, then after a sac bunt and groundout to move him to third, Danny Coleman singled to center to plate Pragana and make it 3-2.
- The Red Dragons padded their lead with a big top of the seventh. James Varian led off with a double and scored after a passed ball and Ben Rhodes single. After a walk, sac bunt, groundout and intentional walk loaded the bases with two down, Coleman struck again with a three-run double to left, giving Cortland a 7-2 advantage.
- Rice led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, then Cameron Hyder dunked a single into left to bring him around and get Salisbury back within 7-3.
- Cortland got that run back in the top of the eighth as Rhodes singled, stole second and came home on a Matt Krafft base knock to make it 8-3.
- The Sea Gulls used a two-out rally to get three on the board in the bottom of the eighth. Caster got it going with a base hit, then Frigiola pulled a double over the third base bag and down the line to bring Caster home.
- Sky Rahill poked a single up the middle to plate Frigiola, then Rice powered a double into the right-center gap. Rice was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, but Rahill touched the plate before Rice was tagged to make it a two-run game at 8-6.
- After Cortland got one run back on a Paul Franzese single in the top of the ninth, Salisbury kept its momentum going into the bottom of the ninth. Hyder led off with a towering flyball to right for his first career home run to make it 9-7. Anderson followed with a single, and Trent Saunders came in to pinch run. Campbell walked and Barke hit a grounder that ate up the shortstop, loading the bases.
- Up came Caster, who powered a single to right to bring home Saunders and Campbell with the tying runs. Barke advanced to third and the Sea Gulls had a chance to win it in regulation, but Frigiola rolled into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, pushing the game to extras tied 9-9.
- Given new life after the double play, the Red Dragons pounced in the top of the 10th. Rhodes was plunked to lead off the inning and took second on a wild pitch. After a flyout to advance the runner to third, Pragana skipped an RBI single through the drawn-in infield to make it 10-9 Cortland.
- Rice yanked a one-out double down the left field line in the home 10th, then Hyder drew an intentional walk to put the tying and winning runs on base. Zach Geesaman rolled one to third for the game-ending around-the-horn double play, though, and the Red Dragons escaped with their second win over Salisbury in three days.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Stephen Rice finished 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs, one RBI and one stolen base from the cleanup slot.
- Dom Frigiola batted 3-for-6 with a double, two runs scored and one driven in, plus a stolen base.
- Kavi Caster went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs, both coming on the game-tying two-run single in the ninth.
- Cameron Hyder finished 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBIs. Hyder had gone 383 at-bats in his Salisbury career before hitting his first dinger to spark the rally in the ninth.
- Sky Rahill, Ben Anderson and Josh Barke each doubled in the game.
- Brandon Epstein (0-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up the go-ahead run in the 10th. He lasted 1.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits plus a hit batsman.
- Benji Thalheimer recorded the longest start for a Sea Gull this season in a losing effort, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits over six-plus innings. Thalheimer walked one and struck out four on 84 pitches.
CORTLAND STATE GAME NOTES
- Danny Coleman had a big day at the plate for the Red Dragons, going 2-for-4 with a double, run and two RBIs.
- Antonio Pragana went 2-for-5 with a run and the game-winning RBI in the 10th.
- Ben Rhodes finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
- Tyler Kensey (1-0) earned the win out of the bullpen after forcing Salisbury to ground into two inning-ending double plays in the ninth and 10th with men in scoring position. Kensey went 1.2 of scoreless, one-hit ball.
- Zack Durant went three scoreless innings in a short start, scattering four hits with one walk and one punchout.
- The Sea Gulls return to action next weekend with a three-game home series against Oswego State. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday and one game on Sunday.
- First pitch of Game 1 on Saturday is set for 11 a.m. with coverage on the Sea Gull Sports Network (SGSN) beginning at 10:45 a.m.
Salisbury University is a proud member of NCAA Division III with primary membership in the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference, along with the New Jersey Athletic Conference for football and the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Conference for men's and women's swimming. With over 500 student-athletes in 21 varsity sports, SU is recognized as one of the most competitive intercollegiate athletics programs regardless of division, and dedicated coaches and staff that foster excellence on-and-off the field. The Sea Gulls have celebrated 22 team national championships, 24 individual national champions, 186 conference championships and 41 Academic All-Americans.
To learn more about the tradition of excellence with Sea Gull Athletics, visit www.SUSeaGulls.com or on social media @SUSeaGulls.