Third-seeded Shenandoah University scored four runs in the seventh to break open a 2-1 game and defeat the second-seeded Salisbury University baseball team, 6-1, in the second game of the NCAA Newport News Regional at Captains Park on Thursday.
The loss for Salisbury sets up an elimination game with sixth-seeded Messiah College at 9:30 a.m., on Friday. The Eagles topped SU, 6-3, on April 9 at the SU Baseball Field.
Sophomores Joey Jones and Quinn Griffith had two hits each to lead Salisbury (32-8). Freshman Kyle Hayman was 1-for-4 with an RBI single and also made a sparkling diving catch down the right-field line for the first out of the third inning.
Jake Pendergraft's two-run single capped the seventh-inning rally for Shenandoah (31-11). The Hornets loaded the bases prior to a four-pitch walk by Michael Paul that that upped the Shenandoah lead to 3-1 and spelled the end of the day for senior right-hander Devin Gardner (4-3). Danny Druzgala induced an infield fly to second before a wild pitch made it 4-1. Pendergraft followed with a sharp single up the middle, scoring Mike Minch and Joey Donofrio to make it 6-1.
Gardner was charged with all six runs on eight hits over six innings, taking the loss. He struck out two and walked four.
Salisbury tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out single to right field by Hayman after Nick Beall's RBI groundout scored Pendergraft, who doubled, to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.
Chris Connor crushed a ball to deep center off Pendergraft's glove for the Sea Gulls' first hit of the game and moved to third on a Griffith infield single before scoring on Hayman's base hit.
Shenandoah took the lead for good in the sixth on an RBI single from Beall.
Salisbury threatened in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with two outs to chase starter Cory Nelson (6-4) from the game. Johnny Schiotis started the inning with a walk before Nick Gentry reached on an error by Beall at first base. Three batters later, Jones beat a bouncer to third and Shenandoah went to closer Kyle Scallion with the tying run on deck to face Tyler Bennett. Bennett, though, lined out to right field to end the game.
Nelson picked up the win, pitching 8 2/3 innings and scattering seven hits and one run. Scallion shut the door with his sixth save.
The Hornets, who got four hits and two RBIs from Pendergraft, face the winner of Messiah-Salisbury game Friday at 4:30 p.m.