CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – For the second consecutive year, the seventh-ranked and fourth-seeded Salisbury University baseball team is one of the last two standing at the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
The Sea Gulls will play for their second straight national title after defeating the 12th-ranked and fifth-seeded Wisconsin-Stevens Point Pointers, 5-2, on Monday morning at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Salisbury will face either top-ranked Eastern Connecticut State or third-ranked LaGrange in the championship series, which begins on Tuesday at 12 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. CDT).
HOW IT HAPPENED
- For the third straight game in Cedar Rapids the Sea Gulls fell behind 1-0 after the first inning. Aaron Simmons belted a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the first to give the Pointers an early advantage.
- UWSP then loaded the bases on a single, error and walk, but Mitchell Wittkamp buckled down, striking out Lucas Luedtke and getting Quin Henwood to line out to right to escape the jam.
- The Pointers pushed one more across in the second. Jakob Boos led off with a single and Logan Matson took his place on a fielder's choice. Matt Baumann then legged out an infield single to the right side, and on Patrick Campbell's throw across the diamond, Matson collided with third baseman Luke Weddell. The ball sailed high and Matson scored, making it 2-0 UWSP.
- Stevens Point could have had more, but Xavier Marmol came in from the bullpen and got the final two outs of the second to keep it a two-run game.
- Salisbury got one run back in the top of the third. Zach Adams led off with a walk, then after a fielder's choice on a would-be sac bunt by Weddell, Cameron Hyder was hit by a pitch to put two men on. Patrick Campbell lined a single into shallow center, scoring Weddell to get SU back within 2-1.
- In the fourth the Sea Gulls manufactured another run to tie the game. Sky Rahill led off with a single and moved up to second on a sac bunt. After a single from Scott Cameron moved Rahill to third, Adams brought him home on an RBI groundout to second, evening things at 2-2.
- Hyder sparked a fifth-inning push with an inside-out double to lead things off. Campbell and Kavi Caster hit into back-to-back groundouts to allow Hyder to score the go-ahead run and put SU on top 3-2.
- Stephen Rice restarted the rally with a two-out single, then Sky Rahill hit a sharp grounder that caused trouble for shortstop Logan Matson, whose flip to second was late to force out Rice. Jacob Ference came up next and powered a triple into the right field corner, scoring Rice and Rahill to make it 5-2.
- That was more than enough for Marmol, who kept the Pointers mystified for the rest of the game. Marmol relied on a pair of double plays to face the minimum in the fourth and seventh.
- Anthony Tomczak led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but Marmol forced Lucas Luedtke to pop out to short and struck out Quin Henwood and Jakob Boos to finish the job and vault Salisbury back to the finals.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Jacob Ference provided the biggest hit of the game for the Sea Gulls, going 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.
- Cameron Hyder finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run from the leadoff slot.
- Patrick Campbell went 1-for-5 with an RBI, while Kavi Caster and Zach Adams each contributed RBI groundouts.
- Caster's rib-eye was his 62nd of the season, giving him sole possession of second place on the single-season SU leaderboard.
- Xavier Marmol (6-0) pitched the finest game of his career in relief, scattering four hits, all singles, across 7.2 scoreless innings. Marmol walked none and struck out seven on 85 pitches.
- Mitchell Wittkamp was awarded the start and went an inning and a third, giving up two runs on four hits but getting out of a key bases-loaded jam in the first unscathed.
- SU has trailed 1-0 after the first inning of all three games in Cedar Rapids and has overcome multi-run deficits in two straight contests after climbing out of a four-run hole against Marietta on Saturday.
- Salisbury has now won a record eight consecutive games at the Division III Baseball Championship dating back to last season, breaking a tie with Montclair State (2000-01) for the longest winning streak in Division III College World Series history.
- With their 39th victory, the 2022 Sea Gulls now boast the second-most wins in program history. Only the 41-4 squad from 2008 won more games in one season.
UW-STEVENS POINT GAME NOTES
- Aaron Simmons finished 2-for-4 with a solo home run, extending his Pointers single-season record with his 22nd round tripper of the season. It was the only extra-base hit of the day for UWSP.
- Logan Matson finished 0-for-3 and scored the other Stevens Point run.
- Quin Henwood singled twice for half of the Pointers' hits off of Marmol; he was erased by double plays both times.
- Nick Carpenter (3-2) took the loss after surrendering Salisbury's three runs in the fifth; he lasted just two-thirds of an inning in relief.
- Casey Pickering took a no-decision after allowing two runs on four hits over four innings.
- Tyler Beyer kept UWSP in the game with 4.1 hitless innings after Carpenter, walking one and fanning four.
- The Sea Gulls will play either Eastern Connecticut State or LaGrange in the best-of-three NCAA Championship Series.
- Game 1 will be on Tuesday at 12 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. CDT), with Game 2 to follow the same day after the opener. Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Wednesday at 12 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. CDT).
- Salisbury will seek to become the fourth team in Division III history to win back-to-back national championships and the first since Marietta in 2011-12.
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.