BY MARK DAVIS
No brooms would be taken out at the end of the game, as the Salisbury baseball team fell short to CNU with an opportunity to sweep the Captains in the two-game season series.
Despite strong hitting from the Gulls, CNU scored five runs in the ninth inning to give the Captains a 10-5 victory.
CNU picked up the pace in the top of the second, finishing with two hits and one run. Three quick outs from Salisbury gave the Captains the early advantage going into the third.
After two hits and three runs in the top of the third, CNU held on to a 4-0 lead, but the Sea Gulls were finally able to get the bats going and get on the board for the first time.
Senior infielder Alex Lipman drew a walk, later moving up to second after a bunt from junior infielder Scott Ardoin. The play by Ardoin resulted in an out, but senior outfielder Tyler Hrycak would follow up with a single up the middle to bring Lipman home for the run.
Senior outfielder Kyle Goodwin then stepped up, singling through the right side moving Hrycak to third, while junior infielder Pete Grasso notched his 34 RBI of the season to bring Hrycak home.
The inning would end with Grasso getting caught trying to steal second base, but the Gulls were finally able to find their confidence with the early hits.
“(We) started off pretty well hitting the ball pretty decent, pretty good approaches up there,” senior pitcher Connor Shockley said. “We started to climb back there in the middle part of the game.”
The game would start to slow down until the bottom on the sixth, when senior infielder Jake Dmiterchik singled to right center bringing senior infielder Mike LaBriola home, making it only a 4-3 Captains’ lead.
Salisbury tied the game up in the bottom of the seventh when Ardoin advanced to third and proceeded to score on a CNU error.
Even with the Gulls’ success on defense, the game took a huge turn in the top of the ninth with CNU scoring five runs on three hits.
A grand slam from Captains’ Kyle Corwin helped give CNU a six run lead entering the final half inning of the game. In the next half inning, Grasso singled to right field and brought Lipman home once again, but two strike outs and a LaBriola ground out later, the Gulls were left defeated.
“We came out sluggish on the mound, we kind of battled our way back, and then in the ninth inning, lost our focus, didn’t throw well, didn’t make some plays,” Sea Gulls’ head coach Troy Brohawn said.
The Sea Gulls will play Penn St.-Harrisburg in a double header on Saturday at 12 p.m. for the last regular season game before the CAC tournament. With the loss to CNU, Saturday’s game will likely play a role in determining playoff seeding.