Salisbury defeated Washington College 7-6 to notch their fourth win of the season. The Sea Gulls (4-4) have won two straight after dropping four consecutive games.
After Keith sent down the first three batters faced, the offense for the Gulls responded quickly adding a run in the first off a double steal with runners on the corners, allowing freshman Justin Meekins to score. Salisbury added a second run at the bottom of the second after Shoremen starter Nick Popolizio attempted a pickoff to first, which skipped off target allowing Robbie Jones to score.
Washington College struck back at the Gulls in the top of the third courtesy of a Ryan Zwier solo blast to left center.
In the fourth inning, Salisbury broke open the game with five runs scoring. A single by Scott Ardoin and back-to-back bunt singles by Ron Villone and Justin Meekins loaded the bases with nobody out.
An error by Shoremen third baseman Aaron Barclay allowed Ardoin to score, but key walks by catcher Tom LaBriola and Simon Palenchar, brought two runners in and increased the Sea Gull lead to three.
Kevin Dean came through for Salisbury with a rocket single, which plated two more runs for the Gulls. During the fourth the entire Sea Gull lineup had an at-bat.
Solid defense from both squads has the offenses quiet in the fifth, as well as great pitching from Keith and Shoremen pitcher Nick Roberti.
Washington College grabbed a run in the sixth but made the game even more interesting by putting up four runs in the top of the seventh, with three of those coming when Evan Hirschbaum drove a Keith pitch for a home run that fought the wind just enough to stay fair over the fence in left field.
Keith was strong throughout his outing giving up eight hits and five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. Keith said he felt good in the start and wants to build off his outing headed into the weekend.
“I felt good with my fastball command, especially early,” Keith said. “I was able to get guys early in the count, they were swinging at pitches and grounding out a lot to short and second base which allowed me to get into a rhythm.”
Keith threw 104 pitches in the outing, his most this season and said he is trying to get used to logging this type of pitching time.
“My arm feels good and it’s been a work in process,” Keith said. “I haven’t exactly thrown this much before in my life, so it’s been a constant day-by-day working up to where I’m at right now.”
Pete Grasso took over for Keith and made quick work of the Shoremen batters allowing just four hits and striking out four in his 2 2/3 innings of work. Grasso lowered his ERA to 3.55 this season and grabbed his first save of the year.
Grasso started the game at second base, but like he has done a few times this year, answered the call when Salisbury Head Coach Troy Brohawn needed him on the mound. Grasso said his goal on the hill was to just try to go out and attack hitters.
“You know I was just pounding the strike zone, trying to throw strikes and let them hit it,” Grasso said. “They put it in play a little bit but I just wanted to pound the zone and get strikes.”
Salisbury held on in the game and secured the victory despite that late push from the Shoremen later in the contest.
The Sea Gulls have three games this weekend with a showdown versus Franklin and Marshall on Saturday and a double-header versus Dickinson on Sunday.
Brohawn said the pitching, tempo and pace helped propel Salisbury to a win and he hopes more of the same will continue into the weekend.
“It’s gonna start right there on the bump,” Brohawn said. “I tell those guys all the time ‘you’re in charge’ and I thought today our guys took charge and we got to do it again first pitch on Saturday.”
Micha Wells will get the start for the Sea Gulls Saturday where they will take on Franklin and Marshall.