KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Heading into the ninth inning of its season opener Friday afternoon, the University of Delaware baseball squad faced a four-run deficit on the scoreboard.

Ten minutes later the Hens had the bases loaded with one out and a chance to win the game, but a base running error and a strikeout to end the game finished the threat and the Blue Hens dropped a 5-3 decision to the University of Pittsburgh (1-0) in the first game of the Diamond 9 Tournament at Osceola Heritage Park.

Trailing 5-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Delaware (0-1) got singles from Kyle Baker, Nick Tierno, and Nick Patten with one out and cut the lead to three when Baker scored on a throwing error.

Blue Hen third baseman Diaz Nardo then smoked a line drive off Pittsburgh pitcher Isaac Mattson that deflected in the direction of the Pitt shortstop. In a clean motion, David Yanni picked up the ball barehanded and fired to first. Nardo beat the throw, and the ball bounded away, but Delaware's lead runner, Doug Trimble, rounded second too far and was thrown out for the second out of the inning.

Mattson then struck out UD shortstop James Meeker to end the game and preserve the win for Atlantic Coast Conference entry Pittsburgh.

“Today was a tough one," said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. "We played well for seven of the nine innings. Unfortunately we had a few mental lapses in the fifth inning, where Pitt scored three times. I know our young club will bounce back well tomorrow (in games vs. Ohio State and Kansas State). Today proved this club will be very good and can compete with teams from any of the top conferences in the country."

The Blue Hens, who outhit Pitt 9-7, got off to a good start as the first three Delaware hitters reached base against Panthers starter Matt Pidich. After Kevin Mohollen was caught stealing following a leadoff walk, Baker poked a double down the left field line and later scored on a double to right field by Tierno for a 1-0 lead.

Delaware starter Brandon Walter held the Panthers scoreless over the first three innings before Pitt came back to take the lead for good, scoring on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and adding three runs in the fifth thanks to RBI singles by Caleb Parry and Yannni.

The two teams then traded zeros until Pitt added an insurance run in the eighth on another wild pitch.

Delaware will next return to the diamond tomorrow for a doubleheader against Ohio State (2:30 p.m.) and Kansas State (6 p.m.). Ohio State defeated Kansas State 6-3 earlier on Friday.

·      The loss snapped an eight-start unbeaten streak for Walter
·      Baker produced the 21st multi-hit game of his career in just 53 games
·      Delaware falls to 0-2 all-time against Pittsburgh.


Delaware.....100 000 002 - 3-9-1
Pittsburgh….000 130 01x - 5-7-0

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