NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware softball team opened its home schedule on Saturday by falling to Villanova, 3-0, and Cornell, 2-1, on the first day of the Blue Hen Invitational.

In the Blue Hens’ first day of the day, Villanova (8-9) scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Wildcats opened the scoring by executing a double steal, and after Caroline Jones singled home a run, Julia DaCosta worked a bases loaded walk to cap the rally.

Delaware (4-16) attempted to immediately answer back in the bottom half as the Blue Hens loaded the bases with two outs, but Mattie Nuccio grounded out to second to end the frame. Leanna Gearhart and Nuccio each singled to open the bottom of the seventh, but Wildcats pitcher Kalee Smith retired the next three batters to seal the victory.

The Blue Hens opened the scoring against Cornell (5-6) in the bottom of the third when Gearhart led off with a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on a bunt single by Nuccio, and scored one out later on a single to left by Anna Steinmetz.

Delaware maintained its advantage until the top of the sixth, when the Big Red scored twice on an RBI double by Madeline Avery and a run-scoring single by Erin Rockstroh. Cornell pitcher Lisa Nelson then retired the Blue Hens in order during the final two frames to post the complete game victory.

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• Nuccio had two hits in each game for Delaware, while Reyna de Jesus added three on the day
• Gearhart singled in both games and stole three bases
Maddi Marsh fired 3.2 scoreless innings vs. Villanova and 4.1 scoreless frames against Cornell
• In the first game of the day, Villanova defeated Cornell, 7-5
• The teams will face each other again on Sunday with three games beginning at 10 a.m.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Delaware vs. Cornell – March 18, 2018 (12 noon)
Delaware vs. Villanova – March 18, 2018 (2 p.m.)
Delaware at Lehigh (DH) – March 21, 2018 (2:30 p.m.)

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Tritt | ktritt@udel.edu | Office: 302-831-8715 | Cell: 302-383-5005