AUBURN, N.Y. – The Salisbury University baseball team defeated St. Joseph's College-Long Island in ten innings, 3-2, on day one of the NCAA regional tournament and now move into the winner's column to take on the University of Southern Maine on Friday, May 18 at 7:45 p.m.
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How we got here
After being awarded the No. 2 seed in the New York regional, the Sea Gulls (34-10) defeated No. 7 seed St. Joseph's on the opening day of the tournament, 3-2, in ten innings. With the game tied at 2-2 in the fourth inning, both Salisbury starter Connor Reeves (14-3) and St. Joseph's starter Anthony Papa locked into a pitchers' duel that would extend past the originally scheduled nine innings. A 10th inning rally by the Sea Gulls ended with a walk-off win when pinch hitter Simon Palenchar drove home Joe Doherty from second base on a bloop single to shallow left center field. Reeves earned the win, pitching a 10-inning complete game and allowing only one earned run while striking out 10 batters.
How they got here
The Huskies (24-13) were awarded the No. 3 seed in the New York regional after earning an at-large bid into the tournament. They won their first round game over No. 6 seed Amherst College on Thursday, 3-2, to move into the winner's column on day two. The Mammoths held a 2-1 edge heading into the eighth inning, but the Huskies overtook the lead late, scoring two runs on a one out single and a two-out throwing error. Southern Maine starter Dalton Rice (3-3) earned the victory, tossing eight innings and collecting eight strikeouts while surrendering two earned runs.
Scouting the Huskies
Alongside Rice, sophomore Gage Feeney has been the other go-to starter for the Huskies, collecting a 6-1 record in nine appearances – all starts. Feeney holds a 3.18 earned run average with 44 strikeouts across 56 2/3 innings of work. Junior Jake Dexter has been a workhorse out of the bullpen for the Huskies, having converted 12 saves in 33 1/3 innings of work, while holding an impressive 1.62 earned run average with 41 strikeouts. Dexter is also the team's leader on offense, hitting to the tune of a .392 batting average, with 67 hits, 33 runs scored, and another 28 runs batted in. Junior outfielder Dylan Hapworth leads the team with eight home runs and 19 total extra base hits. Hapworth is hitting .338 in 154 at-bats for the Huskies.
Senior starting pitchers Reeves and Austin Heenan have taken the reigns from Pete Grasso and Jeff Oster as the team's 1-2 punch on the mound in 2018 and currently rank as two of the top pitchers in the country. In a conference championship series game on May 11, Reeves broke both the Salisbury University and Capital Athletic Conference records for wins in a season when he earned win number 13 in the 14-0 complete game shutout victory. He currently sits atop the national leaderboard in both wins and WHIP at 0.72. Heenan earned his 10th win in the CAC title clincher on May 12 and currently ranks second in the country with 110 strikeouts.
The winner of Friday night's contest will move on to play the winner of Friday afternoon's game between No. 5 seed Swarthmore College and No. 1 seed SUNY Cortland. That game will be played on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The loser will take on the winner of Friday's game between No. 4 seed Baldwin Wallace University and No. 8 seed Westfield State University at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.