SALISBURY, Md. -- Behind a stellar performance from 2019 PAC Pitcher of the Year Ben Marsico (Bradford Woods, Pa./North Allegheny), the Washington & Jefferson College baseball team defeated host #10 Salisbury University by a 4-1 score to advance in the winner's bracket of the NCAA Tournament Salisbury Regional.
With the victory, the Presidents improve to 33-11 on the season. The Sea Gulls drop to 34-9-1 with their first loss against a non-conference opponent since March 10.
The Presidents opened the game's scoring in the top of the third inning with a two-RBI single from Mullen Socha(Independence, Ohio/St. Ignatius). With the bases loaded and one out, Socha stepped to the plate and drove a pitch up the middle for a single to plate Justin Griffin (Lombard, Ill./Glenbard East) and Spencer Howell (Oakwood, Ohio/Oakwood).
W&J's lead grew 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning with a towering two-run home run from James Artale (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston). Facing two straight sliders, Artale knew what he needed to do when he saw the pitch again, as he unloaded on the ball to send it over the right center fence. With the homer, he tied Socha for the team lead with seven long balls.
On the pitching mound, Marsico kept the Sea Gulls off balance throughout the afternoon, allowing just one run in on five hits and walked just one in 7.0 innings. Marsico has allowed just one-or-less runs in his last four appearances, winning his 10th straight start. The junior is now tied for the national lead with 11 victories this season.
Both Mitchell Taufer (Washington, Pa./Bishop Canevin) and Clay Martin (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) made scoreless relief appearances to secure the win. Taufer entered in the eighth and allowed just one runner with one strikeout. Martin recorded the save in the ninth, his eighth of the season.
The Red & Black will advance to face No. 11 Rowan University at 12 p.m. on Saturday in the winner's bracket.