SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 24 Salisbury University baseball team rallied back late to complete a doubleheader sweep over Capital Athletic Conference rival the University of Mary Washington at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Game 1: Salisbury 6, Mary Washington 5
The Sea Gulls (23-7, 11-2 CAC) found themselves in an early hole in the first game of the day. The Eagles (16-14-1, 5-8 CAC) managed to crack back-to-back solo home runs off of starting pitcher Austin Heenan in the top of the first inning.
A Jack Decker double in the bottom of the third inning scored Justin Meekins to cut the Eagle lead to 2-1. Another Decker hit, this time a single to left field, scored Matt Padeway from second base to tie things up 2-2 in the fifth inning.
Another solo home run by the Eagles cut the lead to 5-3 before Padeway matched with a solo shot of his own in the bottom half of the eighth inning, pushing the Sea Gull lead back to 6-3.
A ninth inning rally by the Eagles saw Salisbury's lead shrink to 6-5, but it was able to hold on to win the first game of the day.
After a rough start, Heenan settled in nicely, striking out a season-best 14 batters over 7 and 1/3 innings. The three solo home runs were the only runs he allowed during his time on the mound. The win pushes Heenan's record to 7-2 on the season. Jack Barry earned the save, pitching 1 and 2/3 innings in relief and allowing only two unearned runs.
Game 2: Salisbury 16, Mary Washington
The Sea Gulls again found themselves down early in the second game, allowing a two-out RBI single in the top of the first inning that saw the Eagles get into the run column first.
After giving up a home run in the top of the third to find themselves in a 2-0 hole, the maroon and gold rallied back to take the lead in the bottom half on a Padeway solo shot over the right field fence, and a Scott Ardoin single through the left side to score Meekins and Brad Keith.
Things began to look bad for the Sea Gulls, however, in the top of the fourth as the Eagles brought 11 straight batters to the plate en route to scoring seven runs to take a 9-3 lead.
The Eagle continued their offensive outburst in the fifth inning extending their lead over the Sea Gulls to 12-3.
But the home team wasn't ready to call it quits. A Simon Palenchar pinch-hit grand slam highlighted a six-run fifth inning to cut the Sea Gull deficit to 12-9. Both teams would trade runs in the sixth inning to put the game at 13-10 in favor of the Eagles.
ecker led off the eighth inning with a double to right center field. An Ardoin single then put runners on the corners before a Jay Perry home run cut the deficit back down to only two runs. Padeway then reached base with two outs when he was hit by a pitch to bring Meekins to the plate as the tying run. The center fielder made the most of his at-bat by sending a pitch over the right field fence to bring the game full circle and tie things up at 15-15.
Barry got things rolling when he was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Ron Villone advance Barry to second base in the next at-bat. Ardoin was then intentionally walked to set up the double-play possibility. A groundout to third base by Perry advanced Barry to third.
With the count 2-2, Gutekunst smacked a fly ball that looked to be a routine foul out to the right fielder that would send the game to extras, but somehow the ball dropped through and Gutekunst was given once more change. This time, he squared up and sent the next pitch he saw into shallow right field to cap off the improbably comeback and lead his team to a walk-off victory.
Wes Whitlock collected his third win of the season, pitching the final 3 and 2/3 innings for the Sea Gulls. He struck out four while allowing both an earned and unearned run.
Salisbury will return to action on Tuesday, April 17 when it travels to Rowan University. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.