BALTIMORE, Md. – The eighth-ranked Salisbury University baseball team recorded its first shutout of the year in impressive fashion, blanking the fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at Babb Field at Stromberg Stadium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sea Gulls got off to another quick start, scoring in the first inning for the second straight contest. Kavi Caster was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, then Stephen Rice ripped a double into the left center gap, allowing Caster to score all the way from first to make it 1-0 Salisbury.
- Caster created more offense in the third, blasting a solo home run just right of center to double the Sea Gull lead. Rice came up next and bunted his way on, then after a sac bunt and productive groundout moved Rice to third, Cameron Hyder legged out an infield single to allow Rice to score and make it 3-0.
- The Blue Jays had ample chances to answer but couldn't get over the hump against Salisbury starter Jackson Balzan, who stranded six Hopkins runners over the first four innings.
- In the sixth the Blue Jays truly threatened to draw even. Shawn Steuerer led off with a single, then after a fielder's choice Jack Pausic singled and Sam Frank walked to load the bases. Brandon Epstein came in to relieve Balzan and brought his own hammer down, forcing Dylan Whitney to ground into a fielder's choice at the plate and striking out pinch-hitter James Ingram to preserve the goose egg.
- Hopkins got another chance in the seventh after a James Stevens double and AJ King single put men on the corners with nobody out. Jimmy Adkins moved from second base to the mound and kept the Blue Jays wanting, fanning Jared DeFaria and forcing Steuerer to roll into a double play to Rice at short to retire the side.
- Adkins shut down the Hopkins attack from there, giving up just one more baserunner over the final two innings and punching out King in the ninth to finish off the clean sheet.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Kavi Caster capped a monster weekend in style, going 1-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored. In the two games against No. 13 Southern Maine and Johns Hopkins, Caster went 4-for-10 with three homers, five runs scored and six RBIs.
- Stephen Rice completed an impressive weekend in his own right, going 2-for-4 with a double, run and RBI. Rice finished 5-for-10 with two doubles, one homer, three runs and five RBIs against Southern Maine and Hopkins.
- Cameron Hyder went 1-for-2 with an RBI, stolen base and sac bunt. He now stands alone in second place in program history with 25 career sacrifice bunts, six shy of the record set by Justin Meekins from 2016-21.
- Sky Rahill, Ben Anderson and Dom Frigiola each hit doubles, giving SU five extra-base hits out of nine total hits on the day.
- Jackson Balzan (1-1) returned to form and spearheaded a shutout for his first win of the year. Balzan scattered six hits across 5.1 scoreless innings, walking three and striking out one on 76 pitches.
- Jimmy Adkins locked down his fourth career save and first this year, striking out four over three scoreless innings and giving up just one baserunner on a single.
- Brandon Epstein retired both batters he faced after inheriting the bases loaded with one out in the sixth. Corey Burton also made an appearance, giving up hits to both of his batters in the seventh before passing the baton to Adkins.
- The Sea Gulls have now won four straight games, the last two coming against the 13th- and fifth-ranked teams in the country. Salisbury won its two weekend games against Southern Maine and Hopkins by a combined score of 20-3.
JOHNS HOPKINS GAME NOTES
- Shawn Steuerer and Jack Pausic each notched three hits, all singles.
- James Stevens' double accounted for the Blue Jays' lone extra-base hit out of nine on the day.
- Matthew Dillard (0-1) was tagged for three runs on seven hits over five innings in a losing effort.
- Matt Savedoff kept Hopkins in the game with four scoreless innings out of the bullpen, giving up just a pair of hits and fanning five.
- The Blue Jays had baserunners in seven of their nine turns at bat but stranded 11 men on base en route to being shut out.
- The Sea Gulls now return to Salisbury to play their next 20 games at home through April 12.
- Salisbury opens its monthlong homestand with back-to-back games against Penn State Harrisburg on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Both days' games at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium are scheduled for 2 p.m. with coverage of each on the Sea Gull Sports Network (SGSN) beginning at 1:45 p.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.