Delaware Baseball Splits Opening Day Doubleheader With 3-1 Win Over West Virginia
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The University of Delaware baseball team spilt its season opening doubleheader at the Citadel’s Homewood Suites Tournament at Joseph P. Riley Park Saturday.
Delaware (1-1) fell to Virginia Tech, 8-1, in the season opener Saturday morning before earning a 3-1 comeback victory over West Virginia University in the afternoon matchup.
In the opener, Virginia Tech (1-1) earned its first win of the 2014 campaign against the Blue Hens after falling to The Citadel on Friday.
Delaware scored its lone run of the game in the fourth inning when senior infielder E.J. Stoltzfus (at left) hit his second double of the contest to score Cameron Travalini who led off the inning with a single. Stoltzfus’ two doubles against the Hokies tied his career-high for doubles in a game.
Along with Stoltzfus, Delaware newcomer Norm Donkin led the squad with two hits. The junior college transfer registered his first multi-hit game in a Blue Hen uniform as he notched singles in the fourth and sixth innings. Travalini and senior captain Alex Mottle were the only other Blue Hens to tally a hit on the afternoon.
Delaware starting pitcher Adam Davis took the loss as he faced nine batters in 1.2 innings of work and allowed four hits and two earned runs before leaving with an injury.
The Hokies scored in all but two innings on the way to the victory as second baseman Alex Perez and catcher Mark Zagunis each knocked in two runs.
“It was a tough start with losing our ace (Davis) in the second inning with an arm injury and it set the tone for the rest of the afternoon," said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman about the first game. "We played well at times and received some good pitching, even though the score doesn’t indicate it. Not getting outside to face live pitching surely showed."
In the nightcap, West Virginia (0-2) dropped its second consecutive contest as Delaware topped the Mountaineers 3-1 to earn its first victory of the 2014 campaign.
Both Delaware and West Virginia went scoreless through five and a half innings, but the Mountaineers would cash the first run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth to take a 1-0 lead.
Delaware answered in the top of the seventh when junior catcher Ty Warrington doubled to left center field to score Donkin and Tyler Powell (above right) Donkin reached base on a fielder’s choice while Powell, who pinch-hit for designated hitter Mottle, received a free pass when he was hit by a pitch.
In Delaware’s next at bat, Sherman signaled for a suicide squeeze, and senior first baseman Jake Clark executed it perfectly to score Warrington and put the Hens up 3-1.
Delaware starting right-handed pitcher Dan Gatto (at left) went 6.2 innings with four strikeouts and allowed just one earned run and nine hits to register the first win of his senior year. Luke Alicknavitch entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and went 2.1 innings with four strikeouts to earn the save.
Delaware will conclude play Sunday morning against No. 8/20 ranked Louisville. The Hens will throw senior left-handed pitcher Brandon Hinkle.
“Great effort from Gatto tonight," said Sherman. "He was a great example of how to pitch using all his pitches. Warrington had a big two-run double while Giacchino and Travalini made two outstanding catches in the outfield. Alicknavtich came in to pitch a great last 2.1 innings to get his first collegiate save.”
· Delaware picked up its fourth win in program history over WVU.
· Donkin registered three hits in his first day of NCAA Division I action.
· Warrington tallied the game-winning RBIs against the Mountaineers
· Gatto improves his career record to 10-9
· Junior Brock Niggebrugge has now started in 115 consecutive contests
· The Hens totaled 11 hits over the two games
Sunday, Feb. 16 – Delaware vs. No. 8/20 Louisville at The Citadel – 10 a.m.