SALISBURY, Md. – The seventh-ranked Salisbury University baseball team saw a 6-1 lead evaporate but forged ahead to stay in the ninth, besting the Wooster Fighting Scots, 8-6, in Game 1 of the NCAA Tournament Salisbury Super Regional on Saturday afternoon at Donnie Williams Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Fighting Scots struck the first blow in the bottom of the first inning. Ben Gbur led off with a double, then three batters later Eli Westrick ripped his own two-sacker into right, scoring Gbur to put Wooster up 1-0.
- The Sea Gulls answered immediately in the top of the second. Jacob Ference led off with a walk and Scott Cameron was hit by a pitch to put two men on. Ference then advanced to third on a flyout and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. After a walk and a popout, Patrick Campbell tagged a base hit into center, and Cameron swam around the tag at the plate to give SU a 2-1 lead.
- Salisbury took advantage of the elements in the top of the third. Stephen Rice hit a popup into shallow right that that the Fighting Scot second baseman and right fielder lost in the sun; the ball bounced away from them and Rice ended up on third with a triple. Sky Rahill brought Rice home with an RBI groundout to short to make it 3-1.
- In the top of the fifth, Wooster walked the bases loaded with nobody out, and Ben Anderson cashed in for Salisbury with a two-run single to right. Cameron later scored on a wild pitch, boosting the SU lead to 6-1.
- Wooster broke up the 6-0 Sea Gull run in the bottom of the fifth. Dominic Stilliana singled to lead off, then three batters later Ben Hines cracked a two-run homer to left, cutting the Scot deficit to 6-3.
- In the bottom of the seventh, Stilliana sparked another rally with a leadoff single. Michael Thomas followed with a base hit of his own, then after a popout and a strikeout, Tyler Chumita pegged a single into center. Stilliana scored and Thomas advanced to third, and Chumita took second on a bobble at the plate. Westrick then rolled a two-run single into left, tying the game at 6-6.
- With one out in the top of the ninth, Cameron dunked a single into left field. Anderson then walked and was pinch-run for by Trent Saunders. Luke Weddell came up next and lashed a single into right center, scoring Cameron with the go-ahead run and moving Saunders up to third.
- Cameron Hyder followed Weddell with a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt down the first base line, scoring Saunders to boost the Sea Gull lead to 8-6.
- Brandon Epstein finished the job from there, retiring the final three Scots he faced in a row and finishing off the win with a strikeout of Gbur.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Luke Weddell played the hero of the day from the nine-hole, finishing 1-for-3 with the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth.
- Ben Anderson went 1-for-4 with two RBIs, while Cameron Hyder and Patrick Campbell each had a hit and a rib-eye.
- Scott Cameron scored three times, finishing 1-for-3 with a walk and an HBP.
- Jacob Ference went 1-for-3 with two runs and a pair of walks.
- Stephen Rice's sun-aided triple went for Salisbury's only extra-base hit of the game; he finished 1-for-4 with a run scored.
- Brandon Epstein (4-1) was the Sea Gulls' winning pitcher for the third straight game. Epstein pitched two perfect innings in the eighth and ninth, striking out four batters.
- Jimmy Adkins lasted 6.2 innings in a no-decision, giving up five runs on eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts on 106 pitches.
WOOSTER GAME NOTES
- Eli Westrick led the Fighting Scots from the cleanup slot, going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
- Ben Hines finished 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.
- Tyler Chumita went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Ben Gbur doubled and scored a run in a 1-for-5 day.
- Dominic Stilliana put himself in the middle of a pair of Scot rallies, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
- Ethan Samangy (3-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up SU's final two runs in his 1.2 frames.
- Ryan Sullivan went two innings in an abbreviated start, allowing two runs on one hit with three walks and no strikeouts.
- Salisbury and Wooster will conclude the best-of-three Salisbury Super Regional at Williams Stadium on Sunday. Game 2 is scheduled for 11 a.m. with the Sea Gulls designated as the home team.
- If the Fighting Scots win, the teams will play a winner-take-all Game 3 approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.
- The winner will advance to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
- Game coverage on the Sea Gull Sports Network (SGSN) will begin at approximately 10:40 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, 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.