SALISBURY, Md. – The 10th ranked Salisbury University baseball team will host Washington & Jefferson College at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17 to open a four team, three-day NCAA regional round at Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls went 34-8-1 overall and 19-2 in the Capital Athletic Conference to earn the top seed in this year's conference tournament but were eliminated in the opening round by fourth-seeded Penn State University-Harrisburg in the final game of the weekend, 10-5. The team was awarded an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament and the right to host an opening regional after going 3-4-1 against nationally ranked opponents and finishing third in the South regional rankings. This marks the 25th time in program history that the Sea Gulls have made the national tournament.
How they got here
The Presidents went 32-11 overall and 21-3 in the Presidents Athletic Conference to also lock up the top seed in their conference tournament. The team went 3-0 to win its 12th conference tournament in program history and secure an automatic bid into this year's NCAA tournament. It marks the Presidents' seventh trip to the national tournament in program history.
Friday's game will mark the first meeting between the two programs all-time. However, Washington & Jefferson has played in Salisbury previously. The Presidents were represented in an eight-team regional hosted by Salisbury University back in 2009 but the teams never squared off against each other over the four-day event.
Scouting the Presidents
The Presidents bring with them to Salisbury a .302 team batting average, with five different members of their regular starting lineup hitting north of .300. Seniors Dante Delasandro and Mullen Socha provide a 1-2 punch offensively, combining to score 92 runs and drive home another 80. Delasandro leads the team with a .373 batting average, while Socha sits right behind him at .361 for the season. Ben Marisco leads a Presidents pitching staff that ranks fifth in the nation with 2.4 walks per nine innings. The junior leads the team with a 10-1 record and 50 strikeouts.
Patience is a virtue
The Sea Gulls' success this season is due in part to the patience they have displayed at the plate. The team ranked eighth in the nation with 232 walks this season but will now face a pitching staff that has only issued 97 free passes to its opponents in 2019. Freshman leadoff hitter Cameron Hyder leads all Sea Gulls with 28 walks in 2019, while senior Jack Barry and junior Brad Haas sit tied for second with 26 walks apiece.
The winner of the contest will take on the winner of Friday's other game between Penn State University-Abington and Rowan University on Saturday beginning at noon.