Baseball season has finally made its way to Sea Gull Stadium, where the Salisbury University baseball team opened up its season on Saturday.
Coming into the 2020 season, the expectations for this Salisbury team are as high as ever. Following a 2019 campaign that saw the Sea Gulls dominate the Capital Athletic Conference with a 19-2 record in conference play, the team looks to defend its CAC title.
The Sea Gulls first defeated the Griffins of Gwynedd Mercy University on Saturday by a score of 19-1.
Brian Wildrick took the mound for the Griffins. The senior left-hander was coming off an impressive 2019 season in which he recorded a 2.70 ERA.
Salisbury wasted no time putting runs on the board as it jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead, courtesy of an RBI triple from senior centerfielder Justin Meekins. A Gwynedd Mercy error allowed Meekins to come across for what would be the first of five unearned runs given up by the Griffins on the day.
The offense did not let up, scoring a pair of runs over the second and third innings as well. This was thanks to a Cameron Hyder RBI single in the second, followed by a Gwynedd Mercy error allowing junior designated hitter Christian Murphy to cross the plate for Salisbury.
Senior right-hander Clayton Dwyer performed well in his first outing of the season, going five and a third innings. The fourth-year starter gave up just one run on five hits, registering five strikeouts in the process.
Junior shortstop Jimmy Adkins highlighted a six-run offensive onslaught in the sixth inning, driving a solo home run to give the Sea Gulls an 11-1 lead.
Adkins said the team was very confident heading into this opening weekend.
“We really feel like we are the hardest-working team in the nation. That is something that we take pride in,” Adkins said.
Salisbury was back in action the very next day as it defeated the Alfred State Pioneers on Sunday with a final score of 12-3.
Senior transfer Braden Stinar got the nod on the bump for Salisbury. The right-hander was solid in his Sea Gull debut, going six innings while allowing three runs on four hits.
The majority of Stinar’s performance was mistake-free, but one misplaced pitch proved costly for the senior. Alfred State’s Jack Henby blasted a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to four runs.
Overall, Salisbury skipper Troy Brohawn liked what he saw from Stinar during his first outing in a Sea Gull uniform.
“He competed and did a really nice job," Brohawn said. "Obviously, he made that one mistake that costed him the three runs. You take that away, and it was a phenomenal outing.
But he located his pitches well and gave us six strong innings.”
Stinar was not the only Sea Gull transfer to toe the rubber on Sunday. Sophomore right-hander Colt Stemkowski tossed a scoreless inning in relief as well.
Second baseman Stephen Rice tallied three hits for the Gulls. Meanwhile, Meekins swiped three bases. Meekins and Murphy each had three RBIs on the day. Senior first baseman Jimmy Monaghan added a couple of doubles and drove in a run for Salisbury.
The weekend overall was a success for the Sea Gulls. The bats were loud for Salisbury, as the team totaled 31 runs on 32 hits between the two games.
Brohawn was pleased with how the team came out and hit the ground running right away.
“We had some guys come out here and really perform, especially with the sticks, which isn’t something you always see this early … It’s always good to get these wins under our belt early,” Brohawn said.
The Sea Gulls will look for their third win on the year on Wednesday when Immaculata University comes to Salisbury. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.
By THOMAS WEST
Featured photo: Brad Boardman image.