By Chris Mackowiak
This past weekend was the first time this year that Salisbury University students could hear the crack of the bat over on East Campus. Baseball is back in full swing now, along with its fellow spring sport, men’s lacrosse. Meanwhile, in Maggs Physical Activities Center, both basketball teams were back on the hardwood looking to solidify themselves for the upcoming Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Tournament.
With four teams in action over the course of the two days, there is plenty to digest and take in.
Baseball: 20-12 win vs. Gwynedd Mercy; 4-3 win at Va. Wesleyan
The warm winds this past weekend brought the familiar sound of the bats back in action at the SU baseball field. Salisbury continued their success from a season ago with a 2-0 start in their first weekend of action.
First, on Saturday, Salisbury hosted Gwynedd Mercy on opening day. It turned into an offensive slugfest early on, but it was the new faces that emerged from the pack for the Gulls.
In his first action as a Sea Gull, centerfielder Justin Meekins went 3-for-4 with a two-run homerun, four total runs batted in (RBI), and three runs scored on the day. Newly-captained senior catcher Tom LaBriola also went 3-for-4 with a three-run homerun in the bottom of the fourth.
Joining in on the action was sophomore third baseman Jack Barry going 3-for-4 with a three-run homerun and 4 runs scored. Marking the day for the Sea Gulls were two separate eight-run innings.
Catch a recap of the action from staff writer Chase Gorski here.
On Sunday, it was the pitching that shined for the Sea Gulls. Senior right-hander Jeff Oster started on the mound for the Sea Gulls, throwing six solid innings with five strikeouts and giving up three runs on four hits and three walks. Junior right-hander Andrew Kramer and junior pitcher Brad Keith shut down the Marlins over the final three innings.
Salisbury’s four runs came over the course of the final six innings. The game-winning run came on an RBI single by leftfielder Kyle Canavan, scoring sophomore infielder Will Gutekunst in the top of the ninth. The run gave Salisbury the 4-3 win to go 2-0 in their opening weekend.
Virginia Wesleyan faces the Gulls once again tomorrow with a 2:30pm start time at the SU baseball field.
Men’s Lacrosse: 9-8 win at Lynchburg College
After a dominant 21-2 win over Methodist University in their opening weekend, Salisbury travelled to Lynchburg, Va. for their annual match-up against the Hornets. Lynchburg received votes in the national preseason polls.
The Sea Gulls came into the game as the top-ranked team in the nation, but Lynchburg displayed the talent of a ranked squad defending their home field.
A largely back-and-forth battle ended in a slim 9-8 victory for the road team. It marked the first time so far this season that Salisbury was down at the end of a quarter when Lynchburg led 4-3 at the end of the first.
An early second quarter goal from freshman attacker Josh Melton (assisted by senior attacker Nathan Blondino) tied things back up for the Gulls. With three minutes left until the half, Blondino scored his third goal of the game (along with two assists) to give Salisbury the lead at 5-4. The top-ranked Sea Gulls never looked back.
Senior goalkeeper Colin Reymann put forth a strong effort with 14 saves on 22 shots despite letting up eight goals. Senior attacker Carson Kalama led the charge alongside Blondino with three goals for the day.
At the faceoff, Salisbury won 15 of 21 through the efforts of senior middie Duncan Campbell and sophomore middie T.J. Logue.
The defending National Champions will put their 2-0 record on the line when they host Montclair St. on Saturday at noon in Sea Gull Stadium.
Men’s Basketball: 77-67 win over Southern Virginia
The clock continues to tick toward March Madness. With two more games left in the regular season, Salisbury clinched at least the two-seed in the upcoming Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Tournament. The Sea Gulls are currently still in a battle with Christopher Newport for the top-seed in conference, but Salisbury needs CNU to lose in one of their final two games.
Last Saturday, Southern Virginia came to Salisbury for senior day festivities. The Sea Gulls held a steady lead through the first half and into halftime at 43-22. The large 21-point lead did not hold in the second half.
SVU put up a fight, outscoring Salisbury 45-34 in the second half. At times, the lead dwindled to single digits, but Salisbury held on down the stretch for the 10-point 77-67 win.
SVU leading scorer and freshman guard Rashay Douglas led all scorers with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting. The Salisbury defense got to the Knights, forcing 23 turnovers and a game-high 16 steals.
Salisbury’s points off turnover and bench points made the difference in the contest. On their 23 forced turnovers, the Sea Gulls converted 24 points compared to SVU’s five. The SU bench contributed 39 points, including double-digit performances from junior guard Jordan Brooks (16) and freshman center Nick Gittings (10).
Leading the way for Salisbury was senior forward Wyatt Smith with 17 points and nine rebounds. Salisbury took care of the ball throughout the game, only giving up nine turnovers alongside 13 assists.
The Sea Gulls will visit St. Mary’s City, Md. Wednesday night to meet the St. Mary’s College (12-11, 7-9 CAC) Seahawks for the first of their two-game road trip this week.
Women’s Basketball: 74-45 win over Southern Virginia
The Salisbury women’s basketball team is in the midst of a battle for home-field advantage in their opening CAC playoff game. The Sea Gulls have locked up a playoff spot, but they still trail York (Pa.) by one game to host the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup in the conference playoffs.
On Saturday, the Gulls faced Southern Virginia in Maggs Physical Activities Center. It was a dominant performance all around for Salisbury against the winless Knights.
Four of the Sea Gull starters scored in double figures for the game. On senior day, senior guard Kelsie Bacon nearly had a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Lauren Rothfeld led the way with 18 points and eight steals.
Salisbury won two key battles with turnovers (+10) and rebounds (+9). A bright spot for the Knights was forward Shelby Winsor who lead all scorers with 24 points.
Salisbury will begin their two-game road trip this week with a visit to St. Mary’s College (6-17, 4-12 CAC) on Wednesday night.