RIVERDALE, Md. – It was a tough season opener for the Gallaudet University baseball team as they dropped both games of a doubleheader against NCAA Division III national powerhouse Salisbury University on Saturday at the Riverdale Recreation Center Field. The Bison lost the opener 8-4 before eventually falling 9-2 in the second game.
The Bison (0-2) tripped themselves up right out of the gate in the opener as they committed two errors, two wild pitches and a balk in the first inning that allowed the No. 9 Sea Gulls (3-0) to score four unearned runs on only two hits. GU wasn't able to recover from the first inning setback to take a lead but played even with Salisbury the remainder of the contest.
Gallaudet scored a run against Salisbury for the first time in four years. The Sea Gulls had outscored the Bison 165-0, spanning 12 games, before the Bison scored in the bottom of the fourth inning in the first game. GU last scored a run against Salisbury on March 26, 2008, when the Gulls won 23-2.
Gallaudet starting pitcher William Chapman (Los Angeles, Calif.) completed four innings in the loss, as he surrendered six runs (none earned) on three hits, struck out four and walked two. At the plate, freshman second baseman Mitchell Bensman (Russia, Ohio) went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI, and junior shortstop Tommy Barksdale (Brookeville, Md.) scored two runs while going 2-for-4 with two singles on the day. Pre-season All-American outfielder William Bissell (Brewer, Maine) scored twice, doubled and hit a sacrifice fly.
Salisbury was led offensively by senior catcher Tyler Bennett who went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI. Sophomore second baseman Johnny Schiotis, who reached base twice on errors and again on a hit by pitch, scored three runs. Jeff Hoffman (2-0), Salisbury's starting pitcher, won his second game of the year after completing four innings of work. Hoffman gave up two earned runs on four hits, walked one and struck out two. Salisbury's three pitchers collectively stuck out a total of eight Bison hitters.
Although errors and mental mistakes plagued the Bison, they never gave up as they entered the sixth inning down six runs, 8-2. Barksdale singled to left field and got into scoring position when he stole second base. He then scored on a double by Bensman that sailed over the head of SU's outfielder. Chapman followed with a double of his own to right center field that advanced Bensman to third base. Bissell belted a high fly ball to right field but it got caught up in a strong wind that knocked it down, but it was deep enough to score Bensman on the sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, Jeremy Adams (Glenn Dale, Md.) was caught looking on a called third strike to end the inning.
Defense did Gallaudet in as it committed five errors as Salisbury scored eight runs (two earned) on six hits. GU outslugged Salisbury with eight hits, four of which were doubles.
In the second game, it was a tail of strong starting pitchers as Salisbury and Gallaudet fought back and forth for an advantage before the Gulls were able to break the game open late in the contest. Salisbury senior Eric Weiser (2-for-3) started the five-run sixth inning with a line drive down the left field line as the first four batters reached base safely.
Adams (0-1) started the second game for the Bison and pitched five strong innings before the Salisbury bats came alive in the sixth and forced him out. In five innings, he allowed eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits, walked three and struck out five.
Hits were hard to come by in the second game for the Bison against Salisbury starter Andrew Levy (1-0). Bissell led the Bison with a single and RBI. Levy was very effective against Gallaudet as he pitched five strong innings as he allowed two runs (none earned) on three hits, walked one and struck out nine. Bennett connected on a solo home run in the fifth inning off Adams as he shot cleared the left field fence to give SU a 4-2 lead. Schiotis was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate as he hit a double, triple, and collected two RBIs. Weiser (2-for-3) collected two of Salisbury's four doubles on the day.
Gallaudet took a brief 2-1 lead in the second inning after sophomore catcher Casey Hicks (Henderson, Nev.) reached base and advanced to second when Salisbury third baseman Chris Gaines sailed a throw into the stands. Freshman Austin McKenzie (Oilton, Okla.) ripped a single to center field to plate Hicks and give Gallaudet the lead. Levy struck out the next two batters to end GU's opportunity to add to its lead.
Gallaudet will host Muhlenberg College next Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Riverdale Recreation Center Field for a non-conference doubleheader at noon.