PHILADELPHIA, Pa. --The University of Delaware baseball team defeated La Salle University 7-3 in the opening round of the Liberty Bell Classic Tuesday afternoon at Hank DeVincent Field.

Senior Calvin Scott delivered the big hit for Delaware (13-9), as his eighth-inning three-run home run gave the Hens a 7-3 lead. Scott drove in four runs on the day.  

Freshman Joey Haass earned his first career start, pitching the first three innings. The Delaware native rebounded from a tough first inning (two runs allowed), to fire scoreless frames in the second and third innings.James Meeker (3-0) pitched the next three innings for the Hens, allowing just a two-out fifth inning single. The righty struck out four, earning his team-leading third victory of the season. With the Hens leading 4-2, Matt Ryan pitched the seventh inning, allowing a run.

Looking to build on the slim one-run lead in the top-half of the eighth, Diaz Nardo and Nick Patten walked with two outs, bringing up Scott in a critical spot. After taking a ball, Scott drove a fastball way over the left field wall for his third homer of the season. Chris Ludman and Colman Vila pitched the final two innings for Delaware to secure the victory. 

Delaware returns to action Friday afternoon at Michigan. First pitch from Ann Arbor is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Head coach Jim Sherman

“Cal has really started to swing the bat well the past two or three weeks for us. He’s starting to find his swing again after we made a few adjustments. He’s been seeing the ball and swinging it well for us. His home run was a big hit for us because it put us up four runs. And then the pitching outside of the first inning was really good, but I chalk up Haass’ first inning to a bit of nerves in his first college start. Once he got the first inning under his belt, I thought he rebounded really well in the second and third inning. I thought Meeker, Ryan, Ludman and Vila were all great. Again our bullpen was a difference maker. Today was another good sign as we bounced back again from a tough loss. Good club’s find a way to bounce back when they face adversity and this team does. Now we’ll practice tomorrow morning, before leaving for Michigan on Thursday. We’re looking forward to playing in a big-time ballpark and a big-time setting to finish out spring break.”

On Meeker:

“Meek is one of those versatile guys that can fill any role. You can use him as a starter, you can use him in middle relief or even as a closer. He’s the ultimate competitor who thrives on the competition.  He’s a fearless veteran who delivers every time, and he has ice water in his veins. I’m really glad we have him. He was a big shot in the arm for us today.”

Outfielder Calvin Scott:

“In the eighth, I was just trying to get on top of the ball. We were missing a lot of hittable pitches early in the game and trying to do too much. I was just trying to get a good swing on the ball and hit it low. I got a mistake pitch over the plate on the inside, and I got my hands extended and drove the ball."

On the balance of this years team: 

This team has a lot of different arms and guys that can throw strikes. Again today they were huge for us. We just need to get our offense going because if we do that we can beat anybody. Michigan is going to be a good test for us. They have a lot of returning talent and brought in a great recruiting class. If we pitch like we have been and do the little things offensively, I think we can have another good weekend.”

HEN SCRATCHINGS: 

• With the victory, Delaware advances to the semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic for the second consecutive season. The Hens will travel to Lehigh next Tuesday for a spot in the LBC Finals (Apr. 10th at Citizens Bank Park). 
• Delaware improves to 5-1 in its last six games following a loss. 
• The Hens improved to 11-2 when holding opponents to five runs or fewer. 
• UD is now 11-3 when scoring first this season. 
• Delaware improves to 10-0 when scoring at least six runs. The Hens are now a perfect 10-0 when out-hitting their opponents.  
•Scott tied his career-high in RBI (4). The left fielder has recorded a hit in five consecutive games and is batting .450 over that span. He is now hitting .270 this season. 
• Meeker now leads the Blue Hens in wins (3) and saves (3). 
• Freshman Zack Miller saw his seven-game hit streak snapped. The DH went 0-5. 
• Kevin Mohollen reached base for the 17th consecutive game. The Blue Hens improved to 9-5 this season when the leadoff hitter scores a run.