No. 7 Baseball wins Granville Regional, bounces No. 13 Denison twice

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Needing to win two games with no margin for error, the seventh-ranked Salisbury University baseball team enjoyed the scenic route on the way to its second consecutive regional championship, besting the 13th-ranked Denison Big Red 4-2 and 3-1 to win the Granville Regional on Monday afternoon at Big Red Baseball Field.

The Sea Gulls now advance to face The College of Wooster Fighting Scots in the NCAA Division III Super Regionals on Friday and Saturday with a return trip to the College World Series on the line.

GAME 1 BOX SCORE

GAME 2 BOX SCORE

HOW IT HAPPENED – GAME 1

  • The Big Red drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning. Eric Colaco led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and eventually scored after a walk and run-scoring double play. Danny Alvarez then belted a solo home run to left to put DU up 2-0.
  • The Sea Gulls grabbed back an unearned run in the fourth. Stephen Rice reached on an error at third to lead off and moved up to second and third on a sac bunt and groundout, respectively. DU starter Trey Holland then threw wild to the plate, allowing Rice to scamper home and get SU within 2-1.
  • Rice took matters into his own hands in the sixth, belting a solo home run to deep left, his sixth of the year, to tie the game at 2-2.
  • Salisbury had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the seventh, loading the bases with no out on a Scott Cameron base hit, Trent Saunders walk and Luke Weddell bunt single. DU's Jacob Pendergraft rose to the occasion out of the bullpen, though, striking out Cameron Hyder, Patrick Campbell and Kavi Caster in a row to allow the Big Red to escape trouble.
  • The Sea Gulls finally broke through in the top of the ninth. Ben Anderson led off with a pinch-hit single, and Joey Bowers came in to pinch-run. Weddell bunted Bowers up to second, then Hyder laced a double down the left field line, scoring Bowers with the go-ahead run. Campbell followed with an RBI single to right to plate Hyder and give Salisbury a 4-2 lead.
  • Working on two days' rest after winning his Friday start, Jimmy Adkins came in from the bullpen and shut down any Big Red hopes of a rally. Adkins struck out Daniel Spencer and Owen Wilson and then forced John Bohn to line out harmlessly to short, forcing a winner-take-all regional finale.

SALISBURY GAME NOTES

  • Stephen Rice kept the Sea Gulls afloat at the plate over the first six innings. He finished 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored.
  • Cameron Hyder went 1-for-4 with the go-ahead RBI double and insurance run in the ninth.
  • Patrick Campbell finished 2-for-5 with an RBI.
  • Brandon Epstein (2-1) picked up the win in relief, striking out a batter over an inning and a third of perfect work. Epstein inherited two baserunners with two out in the seventh and powered through unscathed.
  • Jimmy Adkins earned his second save of the year with a 12-pitch one-two-three ninth, including a pair of punchouts.
  • Xavier Marmol put in five-plus innings of solid work in a no-decision, giving up two runs on six hits with one walk and one strikeout.
  • Corey Burton relieved Marmol and put up 1.1 scoreless frames. Brock Hilligoss got the second out in the seventh inning before handing the ball to Epstein.

DENISON GAME NOTES

  • Danny Alvarez hit a solo homer, his sixth of the year, in the first inning. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk.
  • Eric Colaco went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored from the leadoff slot.
  • John Bohn finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Ari Fierer went 2-for-4 with a run-scoring double play grounder.
  • George Viebrock (3-1) took the loss after letting in both runs on four hits in the ninth.
  • Trey Holland gave the Big Red 5.1 solid innings in a no-decision, surrendering just an unearned run on two hits with three walks and four punchouts.

HOW IT HAPPENED – GAME 2

  • Denison won the pregame coin flip and was designated the home team for the winner-take-all game, making the Sea Gulls the visitors in all three regional matchups against the Big Red.
  • Salisbury struck the first blow in the top of the third inning. Ethan Wentzlaff poked a one-out base hit to right, and Luke Weddell took his place at first on a fielder's choice. After Weddell advanced to second on a wild pitch, Cameron Hyder snuck a grounder underneath the pitcher's glove and into center for an RBI single, scoring Weddell to make it 1-0 SU.
  • Kavi Caster led off the fourth with a single, stole second and took third on a bad throw from the catcher. Stephen Rice then brought him home with an RBI groundout to second, doubling the lead to 2-0.
  • The Sea Gulls had a chance to score in three straight frames, loading the bases in the fifth on a pair of singles and a two-out intentional walk, but Sky Rahill rolled out to second to end the threat.
  • The Big Red threatened early and often but stranded men on base in five of the first six innings. DU put two men on with one out in the sixth, but Robbie Hollenbeck came in and punched out Daniel Spencer and Payton Burch back-to-back to retire the side.
  • Salisbury tacked on another insurance run in the seventh. Hyder led off with a single and Patrick Campbell bunted him up to second. Caster then bounced one through the left side for an RBI single to make it 3-0.
  • Denison finally broke up a 15-inning scoreless drought in the bottom of the eighth. Dylan Hunter singled to lead off, then after a flyout Danny Alvarez walked to put two men on. Jake Welsch came up next and hit a grounder to third, but Weddell misfired to second base, allowing Hunter to score and Alvarez to advance to third.
  • Corey Burton got Spencer to line out for the second out, and Jimmy Adkins made his second appearance of the day to face pinch-hitter Matt McClements. McClements hit a tricky flyball to shallow left, but Caster raced in from center and dove to make the catch, saving at least one run and preserving a 3-1 Sea Gull lead.
  • Adkins didn't let the Big Red build up any more hope in the bottom of the ninth, sitting down Josh Bohn on a groundout, Owen Wilson on a strikeout and Eric Colaco on a grounder to short to put the regional championship on ice and set off another dogpile around first base.

SALISBURY GAME NOTES

  • Cameron Hyder parlayed his clutch hit in the opener into a big second game, going 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
  • Kavi Caster finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, plus the game-saving catch in center field to end the Big Red threat in the eighth.
  • Stephen Rice went 1-for-3 with an RBI groundout.
  • Brandon Epstein (3-1) won his second game of the day, tossing 1.1 more scoreless innings and working around a pair of walks
  • Just like in the first game, Jimmy Adkins saved it for Epstein, entering with two outs in the eighth and retiring all four batters he faced. Adkins struck out one batter to give him 199 for his SU career; his next one would make him just the fifth Sea Gull in program history with 200 punchouts.
  • Making just his third start of the year, freshman Mitchell Wittkamp gave the Sea Gulls four-plus scoreless innings, scattering four hits and walking one while striking out four on 61 pitches. Wittkamp had not pitched more than one inning in an appearance since going 2.2 frames against Shenandoah on March 20.
  • Robbie Hollenbeck followed Epstein out of the bullpen with two strong innings, allowing just an unearned run on a hit and a walk with four strikeouts. Corey Burton got the second out of the eighth before handing the ball to Adkins.
  • In 26 innings over three regional games against Denison, Salisbury pitchers surrendered a mere five runs (two earned). SU held the Big Red off the scoreboard from the second inning of Monday's opener into the eighth of the nightcap, a span of 15.1 scoreless fixtures.
  • The Sea Gulls have won back-to-back regional titles for just the second time in program history and the first time since 2014-15.

DENISON GAME NOTES

  • Dylan Hunter batted 2-for-4 and scored the Big Red's only run of the game. Jake Welsch also went 2-for-4.
  • Ari Fierer doubled for the only extra-base hit for either side; he finished 1-for-3.
  • Charlie Fleming (5-3) battled but endured the season-ending loss for DU, surrendering three runs on 10 hits in 6.1 frames with one walk and six strikeouts.

UP NEXT

  • Salisbury will face Wooster in the first Super Regional round in program history. The series location will be determined within 24 hours.
  • Much like the Sea Gulls in Granville, the Fighting Scots won twice on the final day of the Alton, Ill. Regional, dispatching Bethel 11-8 and 11-6 to advance.
  • The best-of-three NCAA Super Regionals will begin with Game 1 on Friday, May 27, followed by Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) on Saturday, May 28. The series winner will advance to the Division III College World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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, 189 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.