April 17, 2012

Three-run seventh lifts No. 3 Salisbury over St. Mary’s in CAC tournament, 6-3

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SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 3 Salisbury University baseball team scored three runs in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie and held on to top St. Mary's (Md.) College, 6-3, in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament at the SU Baseball Field on Tuesday.

The top-seeded Sea Gulls (27-6) advance to host third-seeded Frostburg State University, which lost 5-3 to fourth-seeded Wesley College in 12 innings. The second-round game will take place on Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Seniors Tyler Bennett and Chris Connor hit consecutive doubles off St. Mary's right-hander Michael Victory (5-5) with one out in the seventh, scoring Bill Root and Bennett to take the lead for good. Sophomore Quinn Griffith followed with a sharp single through the left side, moving Connor to third before an RBI groundout from freshman Kyle Hayman gave SU its three-run cushion.

From there, junior Danny Druzgala (5-1) and senior Bill Morton kept the Seahawks (15-18) off the scoreboard. Druzgala earned his second straight win out of the bullpen with one inning of two-hit relief and Morton picked up his second career save in 1 1/3 perfect innings.

Salisbury took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an unearned run. Johnny Schiotis doubled to left-center field with two outs before Greg Janofsky hit a bouncer up the middle that shortstop Cory Napier mishandled, allowing Schiotis to score.

Napier, though, put St. Mary's ahead, 2-1, in the top of the third with a two-run home run to left field off junior Andrew Levy. Salisbury knotted the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the inning when Napier committed his second error of the game – this one on a Connor grounder – to plate Joey Jones.

With runners on second and third and one out in the top of the fourth, Mike Schmidt singled to right, scoring Keith Johnson to make it 3-2, but Hayman gunned down Eric Gronbeck at the plate to limit the damage.

Root led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to right and Jones singled him to third for a Bennett sacrifice fly to left field to pull the Gulls even one final time.

Bennett led SU, going 3-for-3 with his team-leading 13th double of the season, a run scored and two driven in. Root, Jones and Connor had two hits apiece for Salisbury.

Johnson was 2-for-4 with a run scored for St. Mary's. Victory was saddled with the loss on the hill, giving up six runs (four earned) on 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Levy took a no-decision, scattering three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts; He threw 109 pitches.

The SU Baseball Field will be the home to the remainder of the CAC tournament. The six teams will play their second-round games on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. The double-elimination event is scheduled to conclude on Sunday.

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