Video/Recap: Salisbury field hockey soars to first home win of 2017

By ZACH GILLELAND

Sports Reporter

@_zachariahg

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The SU field hockey team celebrates after a goal in their 3-0 win vs. Washington College. Emma Reider photo

Following its first home-opening loss in the new millennium to defending National Champion and first-ranked Messiah College, the Salisbury University field hockey team had an opportunity to hit the reset button after a nail-biting finish.

Facing fellow Eastern Shore counterpart Washington College, the Sea Gulls (3-1) used a dominant second half to take down the Shorewomen 3-0.

Salisbury had numerous opportunities on the offensive end in the first half, tallying 10 shots but only coming away with one goal.

That goal coming 10 minutes into the game off the stick of sophomore forward Arielle Johnston. The sophomore, on a penalty stroke, sent a laser low and right into the corner of the cage to give SU a 1-0 lead.

“We do [penalty strokes] in practice all the time and I know where I’m going every time,” Johnston said.

Washington College goalkeeper Morgan Domanico turned out a solid performance in the cage, saving seven shots in the first half and 11 in total. Salisbury consistently put up the shots, but SU head coach Dawn Chamberlin said the team could not finish their opportunities.

“I think we came out really flat in the first half,” Chamberlin said. “We didn’t have that intensity and passion that we needed to have and that showed in the fact that we only had one goal on the board.”

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The Sea Gulls picked up the intensity in the second half, peppering the Shorewomen defense with 14 shots. Five minutes into the half, sophomore forward Rachel Domanico found the back of the cage with an assist from Emily Lemanski.

The reigning Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Player of the Week’s fourth goal of the season extended the Salisbury lead to two.  Last season in her freshman campaign, Domanico tallied three goals in 16 appearences.

“Emily was coming around the baseline and I basically set up on the stroke line,” Domanico said. “We made eye contact and I connected the pass.”

Freshman forward Jenna Partilla put the Gulls up by three in the 54th minute. Lemanski’s shot from the left wing bounced off the post, allowing Partilla to collect the rebound and score.

The forward, who has started all four games this season, scored the first goal of her Salisbury career.

Washington College struggled on the offensive side, firing only three shots throughout the game with all coming in the first half. The Shorewomen had its best opportunities in the first half, but a few quick saves by SU goalkeeper Tressie Windsor kept them off the board.

Midway through the first half, a shot by Shorewomen forward Emily Pantazes beat Windsor but was saved by a diving Jillian Hughes. Hughes’ stick caught the ball just before it crossed the line and into the cage.

“It was about to go in and I tried as hard as I could for it not to go in,” Hughes said. “I got lucky, everyone got lucky.”

A mainstay in the defensive unit and part of a strong sophomore class for the Sea Gulls, Hughes has started all 24 games in her career.

A better performance for SU in the second half, the Sea Gulls did not allow a shot. The maroon and gold stayed in firm control of possession throughout the half and limited Washington College’s offensive opportunities.

“They were happy with their performance in the second half,” Chamberlin said. “We really showed what we are capable of doing but we’ve got to be able to play for 70 minutes, 35 is not going to cut it for us. We’ve got to come out strong from the start and continue and hold that intensity level for the entire game.”

UP NEXT: Salisbury travels to Radnor, Pa. to take on Cabrini University on Saturday at noon. The Sea Gulls defeated the Cavaliers 6-0 last season.

In post-game interview video, sports editor Chris Mackowiak assisted with camera operation.

WLAX: Second half surge powers Sea Gulls to 15-8 win over Shorewomen

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

After a 5-0 start to their 2016 campaign, the Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team (4-2, 1-0 CAC) has seen their ups-downs to start 2017.

Their game midweek at Rowan turned into a bright spot as the team blossomed into a 16-6 victory. The Sea Gulls continued with their momentum right into Saturday, defeating their Eastern Shore rival the Washington College Shorewomen (2-2) 15-8 for their first consecutive win span this season.

In the early-going Washington gained most of the possession, but the Gulls struck first. Junior attacker Kristen Murphy notched her seventh goal of the season to open the account for Salisbury three minutes into the action.

Back and forth play ensued afterwards for several minutes with the next goal not coming until 15 minutes into the half. The Shorewomen responded with back-to-back goals in a three-minute span to take the early 2-1 lead. Sophomore attacker Cecily Docktor initially tied up the game with her fourth goal of the season. The lead-goal then came from sophomore middie Caitlin Donovan.

The flood gates then opened for the Sea Gulls, going on a four-goal run over a six minute period for the Sea Gulls to take a 5-2 advantage. Four different Salisbury scored over the short span.

“I think a big thing is that everyone on offense is a threat and everyone is capable of scoring even if they shut one person down or someone isn’t having a good day. We’re all able to score,” junior attacker Dana King said.

After the two teams exchanged one goal apiece, Washington cut things closer to end the first half with two late free-position goals to move to the game to a 6-5 SU advantage at the break.

It was two quick SU goals that opened things up to start the second half. On two unassisted plays both King and freshman middie Elaine Draper converted to send to Gulls’ lead up to three.

King tallied the high-point for Salisbury on the day with five points accumulated from two goals and three assists. With her goals vs. Washington, the Lusby, Md. native already surpassed her 2016 goal total of 14. So far in 2017, King already has 16 goals.

“I think I’ve definitely built some confidence up from last season. Coach has really told me that last season I was more of an assister. I’m still looking for those feeds, but he told me that I’m capable of going to goal so it’s just a confidence thing,” King said.

From there the Salisbury offense, averaging over 12 goals-per-game, continued to strengthen on the field to score nine goals just in the second half.

Both sides of the ball seemed to turn around in the second half as the SU defense also stepped up to allow only three goals in frame alongside providing struggles for the Washington midfield.

Entering the game with a 56 percent success rate on free-position chances, Washington could only take advantage of three of their eight total chances from the fan. The SU defense has allowed only seven goals on 27 free-position shots this season (25.9 percent).

“I think we played as a team for sure. Coach prepared us for this game really well and knew who we had to take out and who we really had to worry about,” SU senior defender Kayla Miller said.

Clearing was also an issue for the Shorewomen, losing possession prior to the restraining line on four of their 15 opportunities. Entering Saturday’s contest the Sea Gulls were allowing 25 percent more clears than their 2016 campaign.

A point of emphasis planning for Saturday’s game was defending against Washington leading scorer and senior attacker Katherine Vincent. Vincent was coming off a six goal performance at Stevenson University midweek.

“(Vincent) is a really fast player so you really have to be on your toes all the time. Just try to take her out of the play because Coach really harped on that and it seemed to work,” Miller said, who was defending Vincent for most of the contest.

The senior still accounted for four goals and her first two assists of 2017 despite the SU defensive effort. With her four-goal performance, the 5-11 attacker moved into a tie for tenth in all-time goals scored as a Washington College women’s lacrosse player.

“I thought we did a very nice job containing (Vincent) for the most part which we saw on film heading into this game. So I was very happy with defensively overall how we were able to defend her,” SU head Coach Jim Nestor said.

On the Salisbury offensive end, eight different players tallied goals for the Sea Gulls. Salisbury now has three separate games this season with at least 15 goals. Another welcomed site for SU was the return of senior attacker Ariana Maxwell from a preseason injury. Maxwell totaled 25 goals in 2016.

“When you’re well-balanced, it’s tough to shut down an offense and with a wide variety of players scoring and multiple goals on top of it all,” Coach Nestor said.

Through their second half surge, Salisbury now moves two games over .500 at 4-2. The Sea Gulls’ next two match-ups feature teams in the IWLCA Top-20 in the form of No. 17 Mary Washington and No. 20 Colby.

The win vs. Washington extends the Gulls’ winning streak two games now which is their longest streak so far this season. Salisbury is off until Saturday when they travel to Mary Washington (5-2).

WLAX: Salisbury looks to pave road to consistency in War at the Shore Saturday

By CHRIS MACKOWIAK

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

What: No.11 Salisbury women’s lacrosse (3-2, 1-0 CAC) hosts Washington College (2-1)

Where: Sea Gull Stadium

When: Saturday at 1 p.m.

How to Watch: Sea Gull Sports Network

While the men’s lacrosse teams face off in Chestertown, Md. for the War at the Shore, the Salisbury women’s lacrosse team and Washington College write their own battle in the war in Salisbury, Md. Both teams come off shaky starts to their seasons and look to find consistency on both sides of the ball Saturday.

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The No.11 Salisbury women’s lacrosse team looks to stay above .500 after the matchup with Washington College Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium. Chris Mackowiak photo

Salisbury (3-2, 1-0 CAC)

After losing two of their first four, Salisbury recorded a confident 16-6 road win at Rowan Wednesday afternoon. Entering Saturday, the Sea Gulls look to find a way to their first consecutive wins this season. After starting the 2016 season 5-0, Salisbury has more questions than answers as they enter the meat of their schedule in 2017.

Offense: A positive for Salisbury is that the team is producing at a similar clip as 2016, despite facing two key losses to the attack. Inflating their goals per game up to 12.20 are three games of 16 goals. Other than that, the team sports eight and six goals respectively in their two losses at Catholic and at Washington & Lee.

Junior attacker Dana King, senior middie Gabbi Nieves and sophomore attacker Lindsey Wagner have led the way offensively to account for 55.7 percent of the team’s goals. A surprise for the team is the consistent emergence of freshman middie Elaine Draper, tallying three goals, including two on free position shots this season.

Defense: While the offense continues to produce well, the defense took a small step back to start 2017. Improvement is needed in certain areas with tight games being lost early in the season.

Compared to 2016, Salisbury is much higher in statistics that they have dominated of late. Into 2017, Salisbury is giving up about two goals-against average more. Most notably, the Sea Gulls’ defensive clearing was a high point in 2016, but 2017 sees the maroon and gold giving up 25 percent more clearing opportunities to opponents.

Player to Watch: Senior defender Kieran Kelleher

Salisbury’s defense could prove the difference in a game where two offenses clash scoring at the same rate per game. While junior goalkeeper Gianna Falcone owns the cage, other defenders such as Kelleher will need to be ready to take on a litany of Shorewomen attackers. Kelleher possesses the top numbers among the defense, leading the team with 13 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers over her five starts.

SU Injuries: For now, the Sea Gulls continue to be without the stars from a season ago, junior attacker Emma Wall and senior attacker Ariana Maxwell. Both large pieces to a greater puzzle in 2016, the two players are currently listed as out with injuries. Wall was in the top-five on the team in scoring a season ago with 26 goals, while Maxwell scored one less at 25. The offense had to adjust through the first few games but looks to be hitting its stride after the win over Rowan.

Washington College (2-1)

In their first two games, the Shorewomen broke down their Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) opponent Christopher Newport 10-9 and won in dominating fashion 17-3 at Lynchburg. The team then felt a wake-up call, falling 17-10 on the road at Stevenson. Salisbury sports a similar team to Stevenson, even defeating them in their home-opener. A topic of concern for the Shorewomen is whether their defense can hold SU back enough to allow their own offense to work. Otherwise, it might end similarly to their result midweek.

Offense: The Shorewomen offense has not seen problems with scoring but instead with keeping up with opponents. The positive for this unit is their balance behind lead scorer and senior attacker Katherine Vincent. Multiple players can pose a threat as a second scorer. One ready to step up again is sophomore attacker Cecily Docktor who has three goals and three assists so far in 2017. Docktor shined as a freshman, recording 32 goals and six assists.

Defense: After falling to Stevenson, Washington travelled back home having given up 17 goals, including a 7-0 run in the game. Now, with an elevated 9.77 goals-against average there is danger in an SU offense that is hitting their high mark for the season. This unit faces problems giving up fouls inside the eight-meter and 12-meter fans, which lead to goals in the end. There may not be a solution coming in for the Gulls, who run their offense by roaming in front of the cage.

Player to Watch: Senior attacker Katherine Vincent

On a rough night in Owings Mills, Md., Vincent led the way offensively for the Shorewomen. The senior accounted for six of the team’s 10 goals in the loss. Following a 2016 season when Vincent led her team in goals (45), assists (23) and points (78), she is following up with similar numbers to start the 2017 campaign. Leading her team with 14 goals currently, Vincent looks to be a nuisance for the Salisbury defense on Saturday. The senior is the type of offensive leader that can put the team on her back if it is a tough game at Sea Gull Stadium.

Washington players out: For the Shorewomen, their player that has missed all three previous contests is on the defensive end. Senior defender Anna Inserra is a central leader to their defense. She achieved second team all-Centennial Conference honors a season ago alongside winning the conference’s Scholar Athlete of the Year award. Roaming the field in multiple categories, Inserra led the Shorewomen in both groundballs (36) and draw controls (50) a season ago.

Softball: Sea Gulls drop final game of Sea Gull Classic against Washington College

By BRAD KELLY

Staff Writer

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SU pitcher Shannon Powell delivers a pitch from the circle on Sunday in the Sea Gull Classic. Hannah Wichrowski photo

The Salisbury softball team (4-6) finished the Sea Gull Classic with a 9-4 loss against the Washington Shorewomen (4-4) Sunday afternoon. It was the first time the Gulls lost to the Shorewomen since 1998, and after a walk-off defeat by Clarkson University during the first half of the doubleheader, the team went 2-2 over the weekend.

Salisbury handled the Shorewomen during their first meeting on Saturday, 11-1, but things went vastly different during Sunday’s matchup. Salisbury junior pitcher Rachel Milligan (2-3 4.06 earned run average) took the circle and the Shorewomen jumped on her quickly.

Washington created a rally in the first inning with a leadoff walk and a bunt that fell in no-man’s land over Milligan. After Milligan worked out of the jam with a strikeout and popup, Shorewomen senior outfielder Erin Spinden drove a three-run homer that just climbed over the left-field wall, giving Washington a three-run lead.

Shorewomen junior pitcher Taylor Harcum (3-1. 2.52 earned run average) took the mound for Washington. She is Washington’s ace, but the Gulls answered back with their own rally in the bottom half of the inning.

Salisbury junior first baseman Kristen Yanarella started things off with a one-out double, followed by freshmen outfielder Mikayla Meehan’s single to center. The Shorewomen had an opening to get out of the inning with a double-play chance, but after a bobble at short and then a drop by the second basemen, the bases loaded up for Gulls freshmen infielder Emily Allen. Allen made the Shorewomen mistake hurt, lacing an opposite field two-run double, bringing the deficit to only one.

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SU junior outfielder LeAnne Collins brings in the ball for a grab as senior outfielder Caitlin Lake backs her up. Hannah Wichrowski photo

However, Harcum showed why she is the team’s ace by navigating out of the one-out jam without surrendering any more damage. Washington answered right back in the top of the second with two more runs, thanks to a run-batted-in (RBI) double from freshman first basemen Rachel Butler and Harcum, helping her cause with an RBI double as well.

Harcum held the Gulls scoreless in the bottom of the inning, while Milligan blanked the Shorewomen in the top of the third. But, the Gulls climbed back into the game in the bottom of the third. Junior infielder Annie Pietanza started things with a one-out single, bringing Allen to the plate with runners on yet again. She launched a towering two-run homer to left, cutting the lead back to one.

“My approach was to just get another hit off her after she made chase a few pitches I was not proud of,” Allen said. “I just wanted to do my part and knock in runs.”

These were the last runs Salisbury scored on the day, as Harcum settled in and blanked the Gulls’ offense over the remaining four innings. The Shorewomen chased Milligan out of the game after a two-run single from junior outfielder Elaina DiPrimio in the fourth inning. Milligan finished her outing with a three and two-thirds innings, seven earned runs and two strikeouts.

Sophomore Shannon Powell replaced Milligan, who stepped in admirably and only surrendered two runs and five hits over the final three innings.

Butler and Harcum led the Shorewomen offense. They both notched three hits while knocking in two. The Gulls’ offense came in the form of Allen who had two hits while knocking in all four of the team’s runs. While the weekend did not end the way Salisbury wanted, it did not go without its benefits.

“We hit the ball a lot better and fielded well,” Allen said. “We also came together as a team, showed more cohesion and bonded.”

The Gulls have a double header against the Averett University Cougars this Tuesday at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. at Sea Gull Softball Stadium.

Softball: Sea Gulls start home-stand 2-0 with win vs. Washington College

By JAMIR WILSON

Staff Writer

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SU starting pitcher Shannon Powell (21) gathers in the circle with sophomore outfielder Courtney Tate (17) and her other teammates. Amy Wojtowicz photo

The second game of the doubleheader for the Salisbury Sea Gull softball team (4-4) resulted in a dominating 11-1 win against Washington College (3-3).

Salisbury took advantage of six batters hit by opposing sophomore pitcher Maddie Bennett.

The top of the third inning saw the Sea Gulls put three runs on the board, thanks to a triple to the gap in left center by sophomore shortstop Amelia Trotter with junior designated player Annie Pietanza and freshman left fielder Mikayla Meehan scoring on the play. Trotter scored soon afterwards on a wild pitch.

The bats lit up for the Sea Gull offense from start to finish. The 11 runs scored against Washington are the third-highest Salisbury has posted so far this season.

“It’s sweet, my hair might turn brown again,” SU head coach Margie Knight said. “Hits are a coach’s best friend and runs are their dearest friends, so I enjoyed that.”

Freshman catcher Emily Allen led the Sea Gulls at the plate with a double that nearly went over the wall. Allen made sure to leave no doubt about her power when she sent a pitch out of the park with a three-run homer in the top of the fifth.

SU freshman right fielder Brooke Yerger and senior center fielder Caitlin Lake each registered a run batted in (RBI) for the Sea Gulls. Freshman second baseman Kaila Beach brought two more runners home with a single in the seventh inning.

“This win has brought us up to .500 and we’re going to continue to go forward from here,” coach Knight said. “It’s wonderful to be home; we love playing at home, especially with this large crowd. It’s awesome.”

Junior pitcher Rachael Milligan was a dominant force on the mound, only giving up one hit, which came in the sixth inning. Six Washington College batters stepped up to the plate and Milligan sat them each down with strikeouts. Milligan struggled in the first two innings with her ball placement—walking four batters—but once she found her command, she began to control the game.

“She settled in, she’s pretty kinesthetically aware of what’s going on. We gave her some directions and she was able to make the corrections and play much stronger in later innings,” coach Knight said.

Salisbury’s defense and pitching staff have struggled for the team since the start of the season, so having a game with no errors and only giving up one run is a major confidence builder.

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SU sophomore outfielder Courtney Tate stands ready in the batter’s box vs. Clarkson University. Amy Wojtowicz photo

Washington’s miscues aided Salisbury in the afternoon match-up, tallying three inexcusable errors, walking three batters, and hitting six different batters.

Salisbury defeated Washington twice at the Sea Gull Classic in 2016 by scores of 7-3 and 3-0.

Sophomore pitcher Brooke Mizelle came in during the final inning to replace Milligan. Mizelle gave up one hit and surrendered a run on a wild pitch.

Bennett snapped Milligan’s no-hitter in the sixth inning, and junior first baseman Gabby Edwards had the only other hit for Washington College.

Salisbury and Washington will face off again on Sunday for the final day of the Sea Gull Classic Tournament at 2 p.m. The Sea Gulls will first face Clarkson University again at noon.

Softball: Clarkson University and Washington College look to halt Sea Gulls this weekend

By DREW KESSLER

Staff Writer

Both the Clarkson University and Washington College softball teams come into the Sea Gull Classic with big expectations for 2017 after both teams put together strong seasons in 2016.

Clarkson finished with a 20-14 overall record last season, 5-7 in conference. 2016 was their best season in program history as their first time ever reaching 20 wins.

This season, Clarkson only loses one player from last year’s roster and are predicted to finish fifth in the Liberty League conference. Rochester leads the way in the Liberty League, predicted to finish first in conference.

Golden Knights return many star players from last year, including junior infielder Raeanna Dunn, who batted .371 average and tallied 23 stolen bases. Also returning is junior outfielder Summer Lancette, who led the team in batting average with a .432, 28 runs batted in (RBI), and 24 stolen bases. Both players received All-Liberty League first team honors last season.

The Clarkson pitching staff is led by two seniors—Katie Pelton and Jamie Bridge. Pelton had a 2.72 earned run average (ERA) and 6-1 record in 67 innings pitched last season. The workhorse for the pitching staff, Bridge, who had a 3.04 ERA and a 10-6 record, led the team in innings pitched with 89 and recorded 95 strikeouts.

The other team featured this weekend are the Washington College Shorewomen. Washington went 22-20 a season ago with an 11-5 Centennial Conference record. The team soared to the top seed for their conference tournament and then advanced to the Centennial Conference Championship game, but fell to Haverford.

The Shorewomen look to get over the hump this year as the program has achieved five 20-plus win seasons and reached three conference championship games since 2011, but they have only won one conference championship in program history.

The two star pitchers return from the 2016 squad: sophomore Maddie Bennett and junior Taylor Harcum. Bennett pitched a strong freshman season with a 2.25 ERA and a 12-3 record. She won both pitcher and rookie of the year for the Centennial Conference. So far in 2017, she has a 3.00 ERA this season in 11.2 innings pitched.

Harcum had a 2.39 ERA and was an innings-eater, third in the conference with 123 innings pitched last season. A strength for the team is the entire pitching staff, starting the season with a team ERA of 3.63 and 18 strikeouts. Harcum has led the pitching staff with a 1.91 ERA in 11 innings pitched.

In the batter’s box, the Shorewomen are hitting with a .282 average, 17 RBIs and two homeruns to start 2017. Bennett leads the way for the team with a .429 average, one homerun and seven RBIs at the plate.

For Clarkson, this will be their first set of games this season. For Washington, they have a record of 2-2, splitting their four games played in Cary, N.C. Despite Salisbury and Washington appearing in the same North Carolina tournament to start their seasons, the two teams did not face each other.

Washington will play Salisbury at noon on Saturday and then face Clarkson at 2 p.m. the same day. The Shorewomen will then return for an early game Sunday morning, facing Clarkson at 10 a.m., and then conclude the tournament by playing the hosts Salisbury at 2 p.m.

Clarkson University will start off the tournament on Saturday at 10 a.m. facing Salisbury just after the opening ceremony of the new softball stadium. Then, the Golden Knights will face Washington at 2 p.m. On Sunday, they will face Washington College at 10 a.m. and then will play their last game of tournament at noon on Sunday against the hosts, Salisbury.

Both teams will be looking for revenge against Salisbury as the Sea Gulls swept both teams last season. Washington lost 7-0 and 3-0, while Clarkson lost both games 8-0 against the Sea Gulls.

 

Baseball: Sea Gulls edge Washington College with 7-6 win

By ZACH GILLELAND

Staff Writer

@_zachariahg

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SU junior pitcher Brad Keith begins his wind-up vs. Washington College. Sophie Wilson photo

The Salisbury University baseball team (4-4) won its second consecutive game Thursday, holding off a five-run Shoremen (0-3) rally to escape with a 7-6 win.  

Following the fireworks of a 13-12 walk-off win over Oswego St. on Sunday, the Sea Gulls took the field to start a four games in four days stretch. The maroon and gold needed a strong outing from junior right-hander Brad Keith to give the bullpen a rest ahead of a hectic weekend.

With a Salisbury pitching staff donning a 7.43 ERA coming into the contest, Keith had arguably his strongest performance on the mound Thursday. Aside from a tough seventh inning, the junior pitched ahead in counts and limited solid contact, allowing his fielders behind him to make easy outs.

“I felt good coming out,” Keith said. “I felt good with my fastball command especially early on I was able to get guys out early in the count. [Washington College] was swinging at early pitches and got a lot of ground balls to shortstop and second which allowed me to get into a rhythm.”

“I feel like I’m doing pretty well with my command which is keeping them off-balanced and getting so many ground balls.”

The right-hander finished the game with a season high six and a third innings pitched. Just the fourth time a SU pitcher made it to the sixth inning, Keith finished with five earned runs off nine hits, striking out three off 104 pitches. After walking six in his previous outing, the starter allowed only three free passes Thursday.

“Walks have killed us the entire year,” SU head coach Troy Brohawn said. “I thought we stayed out of that good today.”

The Sea Gulls wasted no time getting into the run column, scoring in the first inning for the fourth time this season. After a hit-and-run off the bat of senior second baseman Pete Grasso put runners on first and third, freshman center fielder Justin Meekins stole home off of a double steal attempt to give Salisbury an early lead.

After the Sea Gulls tacked on another run in the second, the Shoremen answered in the top of the third. Freshman designated hitter Ryan Zwier connected on a solo homer to left center just below the scoreboard to make it a 2-1 game. Washington threatened again with the bases loaded and its No. 3 hitter at the plate, but Keith induced a ground ball to end the inning.

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Washington freshman designated hitter Ryan Zwier trots around the bases following his solo home run in the game. Sophie Wilson photo

Salisbury had its biggest success in the fourth, scoring five runs. Three-consecutive infield singles loaded the bases for the Sea Gulls, ending the day for Shoreman junior right-hander Nick Popolizio. The Washington bullpen struggled with its command, and SU jumped to a 7-1 lead.

Salisbury could not build off the inning as the big bats of the maroon and gold went silent. The Shoremen held the Sea Gulls to just two hits and no runs for the rest of the game.

After adding a run in the sixth, the Shoremen rallied in the top of the seventh. Back-to-back singles put Washington in business and a three-run shot by senior first baseman Evan Hirschbaum barely cleared the 325-foot sign in left, cutting the lead to two.

An RBI single by junior left fielder Matt Tancredi put the Shoremen within one, leading Coach Brohawn to call on Grasso to pitch. The senior struck out back-to-back batters to end the inning and the Washington rally.

The righty slammed the door shut in the ninth inning. A diving stop by sophomore second baseman Will Gutekunst stopped a would-be leadoff single, and Grasso struck out Zwier on a breaking ball in the dirt to clinch a Sea Gull victory.

A dual-threat for Salisbury, Grasso recorded the save on the mound and produced two hits at the plate.

“I was just pounding the strike zone, Coach [Brohawn] preaches that we have to compete out there,” the senior said. “You get amped up when you get called to the mound. Adrenaline takes over.”

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SU sophomore infielder Jack Barry tags an out at first base. Sophie Wilson photo

Offensively the Sea Gull bats tallied nine hits throughout with five different players contributing an RBI.

The action continues this weekend as Salisbury hosts Franklin & Marshall Saturday for a 1 p.m. start. Dickinson College will head to town Sunday for a doubleheader.

“I thought overall we played pretty solid,” Coach Brohawn said. “I thought for the first time this year we were aggressive on the mound. The tempo, pace, rhythm and everything out there was better than previous games.”