By CHASE GORSKI
Just a day after Salisbury (13-6) put up 19 runs against Mary Washington, the offense struggled to take advantage of opportunities in their 5-3 loss to DeSales University (4-7) on Sunday.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead against Salisbury junior starter Brad Keith, after a solo homerun in the second inning from sophomore third baseman Tommy Esparo. DeSales added to their lead in the third with a two-RBI triple by senior center fielder Tommy DePaul, ending Keith’s outing after just two innings.
Salisbury’s offense struggled early facing DeSales senior starter Andrew Schuler leaving multiple runners on base in the first few innings. The Gulls broke onto the scoreboard in the sixth, scoring two runs to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to one.
While the offense scraped across runs to stay in the game, the Sea Gulls bullpen produced in a huge way, limiting the Bulldogs to just two runs in the last six innings of the ballgame, including a four-inning relief effort by junior left-hander Logan Manz.
Manz proved to be one of the positive takeaways from the Gulls’ loss, giving up only one run on four hits in his four innings in just his fourth appearance on the mound this season. Utilizing his location of pitches to get ahead, he threw 41 of his 60 pitches for strikes.
“I just take it one batter at a time,” Manz said. “You have to worry about who’s at the plate; you can’t worry about who’s on deck…you have to get through that first guy.”
After the sixth inning, the offense struggled to produce against Schuler, who got out of jams in multiple innings, leaving seven Gulls on base throughout the game. Salisbury began to show life again in the ninth with two runners on and no outs, but were only able to score once before Schuler ended his complete game with his fourth strikeout.
After a surplus of runs on Saturday, SU head coach Troy Brohawn attributed the frustrating day at the plate to one thing.
“Better pitching, we just saw better pitching today,” coach Brohawn said. “I thought we hit situationally pretty good; however, we didn’t have many opportunities to do it.”
It was not just the lights-out pitching from Schuler that hurt the Gulls, but lackluster officiating seemed to have an effect on both teams. Various missed calls and a questionable strike zone led to both teams voicing their displeasure with the umpires throughout the game.
Sea Gulls’ senior catcher Tom LaBriola had a front-row view of the calls throughout the game, but did not feel that it was something that changed the course of the game.
“We haven’t really gotten umpires that can get the job done,” Labriola said. “It’s something we have to deal with, but you can never blame it on the umpire—we can always do our job better.”
Salisbury will look to regroup this week after their close loss. They will host Rowan University (10-5) Tuesday followed by a trip to their Capital Athletic Conference foe Christopher Newport University (15-9) on Wednesday.