5/8/2015 7:09:00 PM
Second baseman Billy Jackson...4-for-5, 2 runs, 6 RBIs (photo provided)
SALISBURY, Md. (May 8, 2015) – It was one of the wildest games of the season, with 25 runs, 24 hits, 13 walks, five hit batsmen and six errors crammed into a long three-hour marathon.
When the dust cleared, nationally-ranked Salisbury University had outlasted Rutgers University-Camden, 13-12, in a non-conference baseball game here Friday afternoon.
The Sea Gulls, ranked fourth in both the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III national poll and the D3baeball.com Top 25 poll, improve to 29-4 with their fifth straight win.
Rutgers-Camden falls to 26-17, snapping a two-game winning streak. The Raptors have now played five of the top six teams in the current D3baseball.com poll and four of the top six in the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball rankings, in addition to several other teams in the polls or receiving votes. The Scarlet Raptors are 11-11 against teams who have received votes or appeared in the national rankings this season. They are 5-7 against teams that have appeared in the Top 25.
In a game of momentum swings, the Sea Gulls scored single runs in the first two innings, including the opening frame with a hit batsman, a walk and a RBI single by senior designated hitter Danny Breen (Owings, MD/Northern). In the second inning, junior second baseman Alex Lipman (Gaithersburg, MD/Quince Orchard) hit a leadoff home run.
Salisbury's three-run third inning featured a two-run single from Lipman and a RBI single by junior right fielder Tyler Hrycak (Hockessin, DE/St. Mark's).
Trailing, 5-0, the Scarlet Raptors clawed their way back into the game with a three-run fourth, sparked by a leadoff walk to sophomore left fielder Joe Brooks (Blackwood, NJ/Gloucester Catholic). After a bunt single by senior center fielder Bobby Romano (Vineland, NJ/Vineland) and a pair of outs, junior second baseman Billy Jackson (Estell Manor, NJ/Buena Regional) slugged a three-run home run to left field.
Sophomore right fielder Zach Ellin (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) led off the fifth inning with an opposite-field home run to left, slicing the gap to 5-4. With two outs in the fifth, the Raptors loaded the bases on two hit batsmen, sandwiched around a walk. Sophomore shortstop Pedro Perez (Burlington, NJ/Burlington City) walked to force home the tying run, and Jackson followed with a two-run single through the left side.
Salisbury bounced back to regain the lead in the bottom of the frame with a six-run fifth inning, which opened with an error, a walk and a hit batsman. Junior Alex Scarlett (Galloway, NJ/Holy Spirit) relieved Raptor starter Jeff Singer (Cinnaminson, NJ/Holy Cross) and Lipman and Hrycak greeted him with RBI singles to tie the game. Pinch-hitter Kyle Goodwin (Salisbury, MD/Parkside) followed with an infield RBI single and advanced to second on an error that scored a second run. Another two runs scored on a RBI single by sophomore shortstop Pete Grasso (Wilmington, DE/A.I. DuPont), combined with another infield error that plated the second run.
Suddenly behind, 11-7, the Scarlet Raptors responded with four runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game. A walk to Ellin and a double by junior third baseman Brett Tenuto (Audubon, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) set the stage. One out later, Brooks walked before Romano unloaded a grand slam to left field, his second homer of the year. It was the Scarlet Raptors' third grand slam of the season.
Salisbury broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh, taking the lead for good. Hrycak led off the inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Goodwin. After a walk to senior center fielder Kyle Hayman (Wilmington, DE/St. Elizabeth) and a fielder's choice to force the middle runner, an errant pickoff throw allowed Hrycak to score from third.
Goodwin singled home a run in the eighth inning, which proved to be a key insurance run, giving Salisbury a 13-11 lead.
With one out in the ninth, Jackson led ripped a home run to left center, forcing Salisbury to move Grasso from shortstop to the mound. He struck out one batter before Ellin collected an infield single and advanced to third on back-to-back wild pitches. Tenuto walked and stole second before Grasso wriggled out of the jam, getting sophomore catcher Jon Theckston (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) Theckston on a fly to center.
Junior southpaw Connor Shockley (Salisbury, MD/James M. Bennett), the fourth of five Sea Gull pitchers, picked up the win to raise his record to 6-0. He worked three innings, allowing three hits and one earned run. He struck out three.
Grasso earned his first save despite a walk and a single in two-thirds of an inning. He struck out one.
Alex Scarlett (0-2) took the loss, working four innings and allowing eight hits and five runs, three of them earned. He walked three and struck out two.
Jackson paced the Raptors' attack, going 4-for-5 with two runs and six RBIs, while Romano was 2-for-4 with three runs and the four RBIs on his grand slam.
Ellin went 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. He now has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, going 17-for-38 (.447).
Lipman went 4-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs for Salisbury.
Rutgers-Camden closes its regular season Saturday when it hosts York (PA) College at 12 p.m. at Campbell's Field. The Scarlet Raptors will find out some time late Sunday evening whether or not they received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
source press release