AUBURN, N.Y. – The Salisbury University baseball team defeated St. Joseph's College-Long Island on day one of the NCAA regional tournament in extra innings on Thursday night at Falcon Stadium, 3-2.
The Golden Eagles (26-17) struck first in the top of the first inning on a solo home run over the right field fence by Lou Doria. It marks the first home run surrendered by starting pitcher Connor Reeves this season.
The Sea Gulls (34-10) bounced back quickly with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second inning. A Matt Padeway single to right field was followed with a four-pitch walk to Colby Dean. Jay Perry then drove a single to left field to load the bases. Kyle Canavan then drew the five-pitch walk to force a runner home and tie the game. A Justin Meekins grounder to the shortstop resulted in a fielding error, allowing a second Salisbury run to score for the 2-1 lead.
St. Joseph's bounced back in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2 on a two-out single up the middle by Anthony Raucci.
Both Reeves and Golden Eagles starting pitcher Anthony Papa settled into a pitchers' duel which eventually led to extra innings with the score still all knotted up at two apiece. Despite already throwing 121 pitches, Reeves came out for the top of the 10th inning to strike out another two batters and leave a runner stranded.
Jack Decker led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a single up the middle before a sacrifice bunt by Will Gutekunst advanced him to second base. With Decker representing the winning run, the Salisbury dugout opted to go with some extra speed and swapped in Joe Doherty to pinch run. The Golden Eagles intentionally walked Padeway in the next at-bat before getting Dean to foul out for the second out of the inning. With the game on the line, Simon Palenchar was brought in to pinch hit for Jake Terry. He took the second pitch he saw and sent a blooper into shallow left center field. Doherty sprinted around third base and slid home just in time to score the winning run for the Sea Gulls in walk-off fashion, 3-2.
Reeves collected his record-extending 14th win of the season, striking out 10 batters while allowing only one earned run through 10 full innings of work.
With the victory, the team moves into the winner's column and will take on third-seeded University of Southern Maine in round two on Friday evening at 7:45 p.m.