By JAMIR WILSON
The Salisbury baseball team took on the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins for the second time this week. The Sea Gulls squeezed out a 4-3 victory on Sunday in Virginia, and the Marlins came to Salisbury with revenge on their mind and defeated the Sea Gulls 11-10 in a nail-biter.
The Marlins (1-3) were very successful early on against Sea Gull starting pitcher Jack Cheney, scoring six runs in the first inning. At the end of the second inning, the Marlins found themselves ahead of the Sea Gulls 8-0. Salisbury felt they were down but not out.
“We have one of the best offensives in the country there was no question that we were going to score runs,” SU head coach Troy Brohawn said. “It was just a matter of if we could hold them, but we kept giving up a run here and there.”
The Sea Gull offense caught fire in the middle innings of the game, scoring all of their ten runs between innings three through seven.
The comeback became a legitimate possibility in the sixth inning when Salisbury scored four runs and cut the lead to 10-8 after a three run homerun by sophomore catcher Jack Decker and a single by senior catcher Tom LaBriola that brought home freshman infielder Justin Meekins.
“I thought we fought hard and it was a team effort. We got down early and it was too big of a deficit to come back,” Meekins said.
Decker and junior outfielder Colby Dean provided the Sea Gulls with a strong effort at the plate driving home a combined five runs.
“We have a lot of heart we work really hard together to gain that chemistry with each other, so once we get down we’re still up even if the score says otherwise,” Dean said.
Salisbury completed their come back in the seventh inning when they tied the game up at 10. The Sea Gulls possessed the momentum they needed going into the eighth inning.
Unfortunately for Salisbury, their hope for comeback did not provide results. In a bases loaded situation in the eighth inning, Marlins Brandon Kussmaul walked into home plate as the winning run after a walk during senior designated hitter C.J. Lindsay’s at-bat.
The defeat at the hands of Virginia Wesleyan was the Sea Gulls’ (2-1) first loss of the season, after winning the first two games.
“We have to work harder. We have Cortland coming to town this weekend, and they’re tough every single year. We need to come back to work on Thursday and get better,” Brohawn said.
The Sea Gulls pitching staff struggled and defense was the team’s Achilles heel. The SU pitchers walked seven Marlins and Salisbury committed six fielding errors.
“We walked too many guys and made too many errors. They scored seven runs off of walks and errors,” Brohawn said.
Meekins, LaBriola, and sophomore 3B Jack Barry provided the Sea Gulls with stability at the plate as each tallied two hits.
Senior oufielders Taylor Erby and Justin Erby, alongside junior outfielder Randy Neisz accounted for seven of the Marlin’s ten hits leading Virginia Wesleyan to victory.
“I think we’re a resilient group and we’ll flush this tonight, and get after it on Thursday to get ready for Courtland,” Meekins said.
Salisbury next takes the field for two games this weekend against top-ranked Cortland State on Saturday and Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1pm and Noon respectively.