SALISBURY, Md. – Christopher Newport University's Ben Lenda lined a single to right field with runners on first and second, scoring Luke Saunders to break a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th inning as the third-ranked Captains edged the No. 5 Salisbury University baseball team, 4-2, at the SU Baseball Field on Thursday.
CNU (20-4) added an insurance run on a bunt single by Preston Grissom and Salisbury (19-4) was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the inning, ending its nine-game winning streak.
The Sea Gulls did rally to force extra innings.
Down, 2-0, heading to the last of the seventh, the Sea Gulls cut the lead in half. Senior Tyler Bennett led off the inning with a single through the left side off Christopher Newport starter Nick Santalucia. Classmate Chris Connor walked, which spelled the end of the day for the left-hander. Matt Verdillo retired Quinn Griffith for the first out of the inning and got Matt Beck to bounce into a fielder's choice. Shortstop Billy Steel airmailed the relay throw, allowing Bennett to score.
SU tied the game in the eighth off of Ryan Fleischmann (2-1) when Nick Gentry found the right-center field gap for a double to plate Ken O'Neill with one out, who also doubled. Joey Jones' sacrifice bunt pushed O'Neill to third.
Fleischman earned the win, pitching the final three innings and surrendering the one run on three hits while fanning four. Junior Danny Druzgala (3-1) took the loss, throwing four innings and scattering five hits, two walks and two runs with one strikeout.
Gentry, Bennett and freshman Kyle Hayman each had two hits to lead the Salisbury offense. Lenda, Shannon Mark and Christopher McDougal posted two hits apiece for CNU, which won its fourth straight game.
The Captains took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Connor Madden's RBI single through the left side that scored Mark. CNU extended its advantage in the fourth with Steven Keener's one-out run-scoring double to right center.
Salisbury junior Andrew Levy and CNU's Santalucia did not factor into the decision on the mound but pitched well in six innings. Levy allowed six hits and two runs. He struck out three and didn't issue a walk. Santalucia gave up five hits, two walks and one unearned run with four strikeouts.
SU is back in action on Sunday, hosting Immaculata University at 2 p.m.