Brooklyn Boro

LIU Sharks swimming toward Maryland

Baseball squad earns trip to NCAA Tournament Regionals

June 1, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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The best season in Long Island University baseball history isn’t over yet.

Buoyed by the pitching of Nick Torres and the run-producing bat of Carlton Harper, the top-seeded Sharks blanked No. 2 Bryant, 7-0, Sunday in Norwich, Connecticut to grab the Northeast Conference Tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.

The Sharks, winners of a program-record 37 games thus far, found out Monday that they will visit College Park on Friday night for a first-round showdown against the University of Maryland, which is ranked 15th overall in the nation entering the NCAAs.

“We’re excited to get down to College Park and play against Maryland and some really good competition,” LIU coach Dan Pirillo said. “With UConn and Wake Forest, it’s going to be a tough regional. Our guys are going to be up for the challenge. We’re excited for the game ahead of us.”

Torres tossed 6 1/3 brilliant frames in the win-or-go home tourney finale.

The LIU baseball team found out Monday that it would play Maryland in its opening game of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics

The senior right-hander yielded four hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts before fellow fourth-year hurler and Xaverian High School alum Nick DeSalvo shut the door over the final 2 2/3 innings.

“It’s so cool to come full circle,” said DeSalvo, a Brooklyn native who also participated in LIU’s run to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

“It was such a cool experience to watch that in 2018. We were in the dugout, screaming our heads off — giving all we’ve got until the final moments of that last game.”

The Sharks dugout wasn’t any less enthusiastic Sunday, especially after a 7-2 loss to the Bulldogs in the opener of the championship doubleheader.

Having bested No. 4 Fairleigh Dickinson, 10-2, in their tourney opener on Friday, the Sharks outlasted Bryant, 6-4, in 13 innings before dropping their first game to the Bulldogs Sunday.

Despite the pitching prowess they displayed in the finale, the Sharks still needed to score.

Michael Edelman gave LIU the lead for good with a first-inning two-run double and Harper added an RBI single before knocking in two more with a base hit in the fifth.

Senior Ryan Neuweiller, another member of the 2018 NEC Championship squad, doesn’t want his career as a Shark to end.

“It was a great experience going there, especially as a freshman — even with not necessarily being able to do anything on the field to help,” Neuweiler said.

“This year is our last year in college. Being able to perform and contribute to us getting to another regional and helping the program is just awesome. There’s no better way to start your college career and then to end it.”

If the Sharks get past the Terps, they will take on the winner of the UConn-Wake Forest game on Saturday.

LIU’s first-round encounter will be televised on ESPN-plus at 7 p.m.

It will give the entire nation, not just Brooklyn or Brookville, N.Y., the chance to see the greatest team in Sharks history.

“They’re grinders. They play so hard,” Pirillo said. “They’re never out of a game. They’re never out of an at-bat.”

The Sharks won a program-record 39 games en route to the NCAA Regionals, which begin Friday night in College Park, Maryland. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics


SHARK BITES: According to the LIU Athletic Department, the Terps and Sharks have met twice previously with both games going to Maryland, via a 6-2 triumph in 1991 and a 12-11, 10-inning win in 1992. … Christopher Hund had a pair of homers in the tournament and Torres earned NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. “I was just going to go until I couldn’t,” Torres said of his outing in the finale. …. Joshua Loeschorn pitched a complete game in LIU’s tournament opener and closed out the bottom of the 13th against Bryant in the first of three contests between the rivals.

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