Delaware (33-19, 15-11 CAA) slugged four home runs in the win and improved to 21-7 at Bob Hannah Stadium this season while James Madison (23-28, 10-15 CAA) dropped its fifth-straight road game.
“Even though we won yesterday, we lacked the focus offensively and I felt like the guys needed to be pushed,” said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. “I hope the message was received because up and down the lineup we got quality at-bats and big hits in key moments.
The Blue Hens hammered 10 base knocks as five Delaware hitters pocketed multi-hit games in the win. Ferdinand led the UD offense with a 3-for-5 game that included three home runs, five RBI, and three runs scored. The senior captain became the 21st member of an elite Blue Hen fraternity with a three home run. He became the first UD player to hit three homers since Dave Anderson slugged three on April 15, 2011 at Towson.
“Ferdinand was outstanding and had a career day,” said Sherman. “He was locked in and really showed off some power.”
For the second-straight day, UD took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning behind Jimmy Yezzo’s RBI double and Ferdinand’s first home run of the game, a two-run shot over the left field wall. Ferdinand tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning with his second home run of the game, a solo blast to right field.
The Blue Hens reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning behind DJ Long’s seventh home run of the season, a three-run blast that made the score 7-4. Delaware took a six-run lead, 10-4, and sent eight men to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning courtesy of Brock Niggebrugge’s RBI single and Ty Warrington’s two-run base knock. Ferdinand capped the day and the Delaware scoring with his third home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, a two-run dinger over the left field wall for a 12-4 advantage.
Adam Davis (5-7) (at left) held the Dukes to four earned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings pitched for his fifth win of the season.
“Davis really pitched well today,” said Sherman. “He gave up his runs early and really found a way to shut the Dukes down over his final four innings.”
Dan Gatto completed the game with two scoreless innings of relief for the Hens. He allowed one hit with one strikeout.
JMU collected eight hits in the loss as Ty McFarland led the Dukes with a three-hit game that included a home run, two RBI, and one run scored.
The Dukes did claim a 4-3 lead in the third inning after they scored two runs in the second inning off Bradley Shaban’s two-run home run and added a two-run home run by McFarland in the third frame. Delaware’s pitching held James Madison scoreless over the final six innings and would only allow one runner to reach scoring position en route to the win.
James Madison reliever Luke Drayer (2-4) suffered the loss as the left-hander yielded two earned runs on one hit and one walk in 0.2 innings pitched. It was Drayer’s runners on base when Long hit the three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning off Michael Church that proved to be the game-deciding runs.
Patrick Toohers received a no-decision after JMU’s starter surrendered four earned runs on six hits, two walk and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched
Delaware and James Madison complete their three-game weekend series on Saturday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m. at Bob Hannah Stadium. UD hands the ball to right-hander Matt Soren (4-4, 2.85 earned-run average) in the final game of the regular season for the Hens.
The Blue Hens will honor seven seniors - Chris Branigan, Eric Buckland, Andrew Burgess, Ferdinand, Long, Steve Richter, and Soren with Senior Day festivities prior to the game.“We want to finish this series strong and hope that will give us momentum into the post-season,” said Sherman. “It will be a great day at the ballpark honoring these seniors.”