Feb. 9, 2009

Courtesy of Salisbury

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The No. 9 Salisbury University baseball team concluded its three-game opening weekend road trip with two huge South Region victories as the Sea Gulls swept a Sunday doubleheader against North Carolina Wesleyan College at Bauer Field. The Sea Gulls continued its offensive barrage on the road trip as they pounded out 27 hits and had 25 runs cross the plate in both games as they won the first game 13-3 and took game two 12-5. In three games this season SU has scored 41 runs.

Salisbury (3-0) jumped out to a quick start in the first game as it scored a run in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead. The Battling Bishops (2-2) plated a run in the bottom of the second to cut the Sea Gull lead to one, 2-1. NCWC starting pitcher Justin Diener ran into trouble in the third inning as the sophomore allowed back-to-back singles to juniors Mike Celenza (3-for-3, three runs, three RBIs) and Ryan Smith (2-for-4, run, RBI). He then plunked senior Jordan Crystal (1-for-4, two runs) to load the bases. The Sea Gulls seized the opportunity and scored three runs as junior Matt O'Keefe (2-for-4, run RBI) delivered an RBI single. Junior Chad Wolfe (1-for-2, two runs, RBI) and sophomore Brian Green (1-for-3, run, three RBIs) followed with sacrifice flies to give SU a 5-1 advantage.

Salisbury's offense posted five more runs in the fifth inning. Celenza hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot with two outs, to break the game wide open as SU led 10-1. The Gulls added two more runs in the sixth when Green hit a two-run home run.  SU tacked on one more run in the seventh inning.

Sophomore starting pitcher Dustin Herbert (1-0) was able to settle in due to the early offensive production as he went five strong innings and allowed just one earned one on three hits, struck out two and induced 10 ground ball outs to record his first win of the season. Freshman Daniel Trivits made his Sea Gull debut, in the sixth inning, and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits. Sophomore Drew Baldwin closed out the game with a scoreless seventh inning. 

North Carolina Wesleyan was led offensively by senior Zollie Woodlief who collected two of the five hits and drove in all three runs for the Battling Bishops.

In the second game, sophomore Andrew Miller (4-for-5, three runs, five RBIs) led the way for the maroon and gold as he reached base all five times he came to the plate and delivered key hits in each of the innings the Sea Gulls posted runs. Miller led the game off with a double and after a fly out and an intentional walk to Celenza, Smith (2-for-4, run, three RBIs) smacked a three-run homer to put the Sea Gulls up by 3-0 after a half inning of play. Miller started another three-run rally with his second double of the game in the third inning. SU took advantage of a NCWC error to score three unearned runs in the frame. In the sixth inning, Miller clubbed a grand slam home run to extend the Sea Gull lead to 10-2. Miller was a triple shy of the cycle as he singled in the seventh.    

The Battling Bishops rallied in the bottom of the sixth as they cut the Sea Gull lead in half, 10-5, with three runs. That was as close as N.C. Wesleyan would get as Salisbury responded with two more runs in the top of the seventh.

Sophomore pitcher Kyle Judson (1-0) got the start for SU in the second game and tossed five solid innings as he gave up two earned runs on five hits and struck out five Battling Bishops. Sophomore Mark Peterson came on to relieve Judson and threw the final two innings in his first appearance as a Sea Gull.

North Carolina Wesleyan was paced offensively by sophomore Justin Rahm (2-for-2, two runs, RBI) who hit a solo home run in the second inning and junior Joel Creef (2-for-3, run, three RBIs) who drove in three of the five runs for the Battling Bishops.

Miller collected six hits and six RBIs on the afternoon to lead the offensive attack for the Sea Gulls. Smith, Celenza, and sophomore Will Evans each had four hits in the doubleheader to pace SU.

The Sea Gulls will make their home debut on Sunday, February 15, as SU welcomes Stevens Institute of Technology to Sea Gull Field for a doubleheader that begins at Noon.