MANSFIELD, Conn. - A five run third inning was enough to send the Salem State Vikings past the top-seeded Wheaton College Lyons, on day one of the NCAA Division III New England Regional double elimination tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
The Lyons will now take on No. 5 Suffolk at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, after the Rams fell to Keystone 5-2 in the opening contest.
Sean Buckland (9-0) earned the win for the Vikings after pitching 8.2 innings, which saw the senior give up four runs on six hits, while striking out seven and walking two. Pete Gonski came in in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, earning his fourth save of the season.
Wheaton junior Michael Bruemmel (3-5) collected the loss after two complete, that saw him give up five runs on three hits, while walking five. Jordan Jenkins pitched 5.2 solid innings of middle relief to give the Lyons an opportunity to bounce back from a 5-2 deficit. Jenkins was touched for only two runs on five hits. Senior Michael Baryski also took the mound for the Lyons.
The left-handed Buckland, who had finished six of his first eight starts this year, retired 14 straight after giving up a first-inning two-run home run to No. 3 hitter Matt Lavanchy. The homerun was the first of the year for the senior right fielder.
Down 2-0, the Vikings went ahead for good by batting around and scoring five runs in the top of the third off Bruemmel on three hits and four walks. No. 9 hitter Mac Daniel Singelton started the inning with a double and Dan Connors later drove in two runs with a single.
With Salem leading by three in the bottom of the ninth, an infield error and double by senior Mike Beneduce put two runners in scoring position, but Gonski came on to get a swinging strikeout to end the game and record the save.
Davis and Singleton each had two hits for Salem, as did Wheaton leadoff hitter Jimmy Smith.
Wheaton falls to 4-2 overall against Salem State, while dropping its first post season contest to the Vikings.