SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 9 Salisbury University baseball team will square off against the Otterbein University Cardinals in an elimination contest in its second game of the NCAA regional. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m., on May 19.
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How we got here
Salisbury dropped its first game of the 2017 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament. The Sea Gulls fell to Roanoke College 15-5 in game one of the South Region bracket. Justin Meekins opened the scoring giving Salisbury a 1-0 lead but the Maroons battled back plating the next 13 runs to take a commanding lead and never looked back. Pete Grasso took his first loss of the season going five innings, allowing seven earned runs off of 10 hits, while striking out four batters. Ron Villone led the team with two RBI while Grasso finished the game going 3-for-5 with a double, triple, and RBI.
How they got here
Otterbein fell to No. 1 LaGrange (Ga.) College in round one 7-1. The Cardinals plated their only run in the top of the ninth inning and were held to just six hits on the afternoon. Bryan Stopar led the Otterbein offense going 2-for-4 from the plate with two singles and a walk.
The Cardinals advanced to the 2017 Division III NCAA Baseball Tournament after capturing the Ohio Athletic Conference title defeating University of Mount Union 14-8. It was Otterbein's first OAC title since 2007 and sixth overall in program history.
Scouting the Cardinals
The Cardinals boast a proficient offense with six players batting over .300 this season. Stephen Hernon leads the Cardinals' offense with a .348 average and a team-high 14 doubles and eight home runs. Hernon has 42 RBI this season with a slugging percentage of .594 and an on base percentage of .437, which are both team-highs. Stopar drove in a team-high 43 runs while posting a batting average of .340 and slugging percentage of .538 including 11 doubles and six home runs.
On the mound Otterbein is led by Craig Prince who boasts a 1.88 ERA and a record of 7-3 in 11 starts. Prince has struck out 88 batter while only allowing 17 earned runs in 81 1/3 innings pitched.
The last time we met
These two programs have met four times in their history with Salisbury holding a 3-1 advantage. They have not met since 2003 with the Sea Gulls sweeping a doubleheader in Fort Myers, Fla., by scores of 4-1 and 5-2.
Both programs have one common opponent in 2017 which was Capital Athletic Conference opponent Marymount (Va.) University. Otterbein split the doubleheader with the Saints falling in game one 8-5, but claiming the second game by the final score of 6-1. Salisbury swept Marymount this past season, outscoring the Saints 30-10.
The winner will stay alive and advance to the next round on Saturday, May 20. The winner has two possible scenarios for opponents based on the amount of teams left after day two. The loser will be eliminated from the NCAA tournament.