SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 24 Salisbury University baseball team dropped a tough 15-12 decision on Saturday afternoon to No. 1 State University of New York at Cortland. The Sea Gulls rallied back to tie the game in the sixth inning but were unable to sustain the momentum as the Red Dragons escaped with the victory.
Salisbury (2-2) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning but were unable to sustain the advantage. Simon Palenchar led off the inning for the maroon and gold and drove a double into the right field gap. The very next batter, Jack Barry, singled giving the Sea Gulls runners on first and third with no outs. However, back-to-back strikeouts left runners on the corners with one out left in the inning. Palenchar scored during the next at-bat on a wild pitch.
The Red Dragons (1-0) took the lead in the next inning and would build their lead to 5-1 by the top of the sixth. In the bottom half of the sixth inning Salisbury rallied back to tie the game at 5-5.
Kyle Canavan led off the inning with a double to center field giving the Sea Gulls a runner in scoring position right from the start. During the very next at-bat Tom LaBriola was hit by a pitch leaving Pete Grasso with runners on first and second and most importantly no outs. Grasso delivered driving an RBI single into right field plating Canavan. With the bases loaded Jay Perry made his first big play of the game singling to center to score Barry and Grasso making the score 5-4. Scott Ardoin capped the rally with a double down the right field line to score Robbie Jones knotting the game at five all.
The momentum was short lived however, as SUNY Cortland plated seven runs in the top half of the seventh inning taking the lead right back, 12-5.
Once again though, the Sea Gulls clawed their way back into the game, this time in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Perry went to work again in the inning pulling Salisbury all the way back to within three after he hammered a three-run homer to right field scoring Palenchar and Grasso to make the score 12-9.
In the top of the ninth SUNY Cortland put a little breathing room between itself and the home team scoring on a home run and a single to push the lead to six, 15-9. It was much needed as the Sea Gulls put up a fight in the bottom half of the inning.
Barry started the inning knocking a solo shot over the center field wall to make it a five run game. Jones reached base safely the very next at-bat due to an error to give Perry one on and no outs in the inning when he stepped to the plate. Perry once again delivered launching a two-run bomb into the trees beyond the center field wall to pull the maroon and gold back within three.
That was all the offense the Sea Gulls could muster in the bottom half of the inning as the Red Dragons held on for the win.
Perry, who came into game in the top of the fourth, finished the day 3-for-3, with two runs scored, seven RBI and two home runs. LaBriola and Grasso combined to go 3-for-8, scoring three runs, and driving in one RBI.
The two teams will finish off the two game series tomorrow, Sunday February 19. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.