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NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware baseball program turned in one of its most complete performances of the season Friday afternoon, defeating Hofstra 8-4 in the CAA series opener at Bob Hannah Stadium.

A large crowd of nearly 800 took in the game that evened the Blue Hens Colonial Athletic Association record at 5-5. Delaware won its second straight to improve to 18-14 on the season.

The Hens lowered their conference-leading ERA to 4.79 and every single batter reached base. Shortstop Jeremy Ake produced a career-high four hits and pair of RBI.

“We do not win the ballgame today without the performances on the mound,” Delaware head coach Jim Sherman said. “ [Nick] Spadafino had a bit of trouble early, but he bounced back due to his sinker, in the fourth and fifth. I thought [Colman] Vila was excellent in his two innings, as was [Ron] Marinaccio. We got a few big hits from Ake, and [Brian] Mayer. The big hits were the difference between pulling out the victory like we did today and coming up short like we did last weekend at Northeastern.”

Delaware fell behind early on Friday as Hens start Nick Spadafino struggled a bit in the early portion of the game.

Hofstra (8-23, 2-5 CAA) produced seven hits in the first three innings off Spadafino, but the righty did a nice job of controlling the damage.

In the first, the Pride produced three hits, but a pair of base running blunders cost them dearly. With one out, Sean Rausch was picked-off at first base, and with two outs the Pride had a runner gunned down at the plate on a beautiful throw by Jordan Glover.

Hofstra struck for a run in the second, creating a two-out rally. With two men gone, Spadafino walked second baseman Todd Archer, who advanced to second on a balk. After a hit batter added a runner on first base, outfielder Stephen Foster doubled home Archer. Hofstra added to its lead on a two-run home run by third baseman David Liederman in the third.

Facing a 3-0 deficit, the Hens offense went to work in the bottom of the third and fourth, adding a run in the third and four runs in the fourth.

In the third, the Hens scored with two men out on back-to-back doubles from Nick Tierno and Doug Trimble. In the fourth, the Hens scored four runs, loading the bases in the process.

Nick Patten led-off the inning with one of his three walks for the day and stole second with nobody out. The next hitter, Calvin Scott, tripled to score Patten. Diaz Nardo later added an RBI single that tied the game at 3-3.

With two out in the inning, Hofstra starter Teddy Cills walked Tierno, setting up first and third for Trimble. Much like the third, the designated hitter delivered, singling home Nardo for the go-ahead run. Delaware added the fourth run of the inning on a Glover bases-loaded walk.

Following the shaky start, Spadafino settled down, allowing just one run over the final two innings of his outing. After Spadafino, the Hens received four scoreless innings from Colman Vila and Ron Marinaccio. Vila pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh and the Hens took the 4-3 lead in to the bottom half of the seventh.

In the home half of the seventh Brian Mayer extended the Hens lead to 7-4, hitting a two-run double.

For the eighth, the Hens summoned Marinaccio, who produced a scoreless inning.

Delaware added a run in the bottom half of the inning before Marinaccio finished it off in the ninth, earning his team-leading third save of the season.

The Hens and Pride will face-off in the middle game of the series Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. LHP Kevin Milley will take the ball for the Hens while RHP Jorge Marrero will pitch for Hofstra.

“We need Milley to come out strong tomorrow,” Sherman later added. “He hasn’t been quite as sharp his last two times out. We need a good solid six or seven innings. If we get that we’ll be in good shape. Kevin is at his best when he’s aggressive and throwing a lot of strikes early.”

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