Walter's Career Day, Strong Pitching Propels Blue Hens to Doubleheader Sweep of Penn State
NEWARK, Del. -- Behind a pair of pitching gems from Brandon Walter and Nick Spadafino, the University of Delaware baseball team swept a doubleheader from Penn State Saturday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.
Delaware took the opener by a 6-1 score thanks to Walter's masterpiece and a five-run seventh inning. In the nightcap, Spadafino's heroics and Doug Trimble's third home run of the season gave UD the 5-0 triumph.
"Today was a great display of pitching from our whole team," head coach Jim Sherman said. "The performances this afternoon were prime examples of the kind of performances we can produce when pitching well. [Brandon] Walter's start in the first game is as good a pitching performance as I have seen in my 31-year coaching career. His stuff was electric and all four pitches were working well. We got a great outing from Spadafino and the bullpen and got some timely hits. Overall, it was a really great day for our club."
In the opener, Walter, a sophomore left-hander, threw eight shutout innings, striking out a career-high 17 batters. Walter walked one and allowed just a one-out seventh inning single.
The Delaware native (Hodgson Vo-Tech HS) retired the side in order in every inning but the seventh and struck out the side in the fifth and eighth innings. Walter struck out multiple batters in every inning but the first and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
"I felt pretty good today and all four pitches were working" Walter said. "Coach Troy [O'Neal] and (catcher) Brian Mayer called a great game and the guys behind me played great defense. I got a couple of big plays from Diaz (Nardo) and the offense came alive late. Today's performances from the whole staff, giving up just one run against a solid Big Ten team, is huge heading into CAA play at James Madison next weekend. Hopefully we can translate the performances from today into tomorrow and next weekend."
Offensively, the Blue Hens (10-7) scored a run in the second on an RBI groundout from Diaz Nardo before adding five insurance runs in the seventh.
In the second game Delaware received more great pitching as Spadafino pitched six shutout innings, allowing just a pair of singles in the fourth inning. The righty struck out five and walked just one batter.
"Spadafino is starting to come full-circle," Sherman added. "He's fully figured out his release point, what all of his pitches need to do and how to make adjustments when things don't completely work out. His growth and maturity are finally starting to shine. I'm really happy that the results are coming because he's worked really hard."
At the plate, Delaware scored unearned runs in the second and fifth innings to enjoy a 2-0 lead after five.
In the second, Trimble rocketed a ground ball toward Penn State (6-10) third baseman Christian Helsel, who after making a nice pick, threw the ball away.
The throwing error allowed Trimble to reach second base safely. After a wild pitch advanced him to third, first baseman Nick Patten reached first safely on an infield hit that scored Trimble.
In the fifth, Mohollen singled with two outs and stole second base. Blue Hens catcher Nick Tierno hit a sky-high fly ball toward centerfield that Nittany Lions centerfielder Jordan Bowersox dropped.
The play, which should have been the third and final out of the inning, allowed Mohollen to score the Blue Hens' second run.
The Blue Hens added a run on a safety squeeze in the seventh before Trimble lined a two-run home run to right field in the eighth.
The Hens received three shutout innings from versatile lefty Matt Hornich to close the game, earning Hornich his first career save.
The Blue Hens are now 8-2 during this homestand and have won 10 out of their last 13 games.
Penn State and Delaware will conclude the three-game set Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Senior left-hander Kevin Milley will take the ball for Delaware while Cole Bartles will pitch for Penn State.
• UD pitchers allowed just one run and seven hits over the 18 innings played this weekend.
• As a team, the Blue Hens struck out 25 Penn State hitters in the two games played today.
• The Blue Hens improved to 6-1 when they hit at least one home run.
• The Blue Hens are now 6-2 when they score the first run of the game.
• Walter’s 17 strikeouts are the second most in program history. In 1959 Al Neiger struck out a program best 21 batters against Swarthmore.
• Walter’s eight inning performances marks the first time a Blue Hen starter has finished eight innings.
• Walter dropped his ERA to 1.97 with today’s eight shutout innings.
• Spadafino has now thrown 11.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
• Mohollen now has a team high nine games with at least two hits. The Blue Hens are 7-2 in those games.
• Trimble has a 13 game hitting streak, and has recorded a hit in every game except the second game against Pitt.
• Four Blue Hens (Trimble, Calvin Scott, Nardo and Jeremy Ake) all have reached base in 10 consecutive games or more.
MEDIA INFORMATION: Contact Andrew Stern | Anwstern@udel.edu | Office: 302-831-6519 | Cell: 914-589-9666