NEWARK, Del. -- Behind six strong innings (two unearned runs) from RHP Kyle Hinton and a two-run home run by Nick Patten, the University of Delaware baseball team defeated UNCW 5-3 Friday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.

The victory pushes Delaware (16-14, 4-3 CAA) into a virtual tie with UNCW for third place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings.

The Seahawks (20-13, 4-3 CAA) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after two and one-half innings Friday, scoring a pair of unearned runs.

Facing the slim deficit, Delaware went to work in the third inning scoring three runs. Shortstop Vinny Vaccone singled to begin the inning and advanced to third on a Kevin Mohollen double. Vaccone scored the inning’s first run on an infield single by Erik Bowren. Down just 2-1, outfielder Kyle Baker hit a groundball that UNCW failed to record an out. On the play Mohollen scored, Bowren advanced to second and Baker was safe at first. After a double play, Calvin Scott beat out an errant throw for the inning’s final run.

The game remained 3-2 until the bottom of the fifth inning. After a Baker two-out walk, Patten launched a towering drive off the batters eye in dead-center. The blast was his team-leading fourth of the season.

UNCW added an unearned run in the seventh, but senior James Meeker was able to strand a pair of runners in scoring position in eighth, before tossing a 1-2-3 ninth.

Delaware and UNCW continue a three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. Freshman Billy Sullivan IV will take the hill for Delaware, with freshman Landon Roupp scheduled to take the ball for the Seahawks.

Head coach Jim Sherman

“Both teams got off to a bit of a rocky start defensively, but then settled in nicely. I thought it was a good ballgame from the fourth or fifth inning on. Both teams played well and pitched well. It was a good old-fashioned CAA baseball game. I love playing UNCW and they’re always a good matchup for us. We have a lot of respect for them and their program. We got a great effort out of Hinton who is a bulldog out there. I love the way that Kyle goes about his approach on the mound. And then we received a key two-run homer out of Patten. So overall a great win for us. Tomorrow we need another good effort from Billy. We’re going to win a lot of low-scoring 3-2, 4-3 games. We’re not going to win many slugfests. We need another good effort out of him.”

On Nick Patten’s recent success:

“Nick is definitely more relaxed at the plate. He’s working good at-bats right now and sitting to his approach. As a result he’s hitting the ball hard. And sometimes that’s how simple hitting is. So he’s feeling relaxed, he’s getting a good approach and he’s making good contact. Today he demonstrated that well.”

On young guys gaining experience:

“The majority of our starters today were new players. Patten and the right-side of our infield are really the only returners.  We have a big core of new guys and they got a taste of CAA baseball and the intensity level that comes naturally in these big series. Today featured all of the fun parts of CAA baseball. I was really pleased with how our younger guys adapted to the moment.”

Nick Patten:

“I’m starting to swing the bat a bit better and see the ball better. I’m feeling good right now at the plate. I’m just trying to be as productive as I can be in the box. In the fifth, I saw that Baker was on-base and we needed a spark. I was looking for a fastball that I could square up. I was just trying to square up a pitch and keep the line moving. Luckily, I got a good pitch to hit and I was able to put a good swing on it. It’s always easier to swing the bat when the weather is a bit warmer which it was today. We’re really starting to work good at-bats as a team and we’re starting to put together a few good at-bats in a row. We’re just trying to be as aggressive as we can. “

On the importance of winning the opening game of a series:

“Anytime we have Hinton on the mound we want to win because he gives us a really good shot to win every single week. He’s been so consistent on the mound which allows us to win his starts more often than not. Having him on the mound is a big confidence boost for this team.”

HEN SCRATCHINGS: 

  • Delaware improves to 13-0 when leading after seven innings and to 10-5 at Bob Hannah Stadium this season.
  • The Hens are now 13-3 this season when holding opponents to three runs or fewer.
  • Delaware was out-hit 8-7 Friday. The Blue Hens had won just two games (2-13 coming into the day) all season when being outhit.
  • The Blue Hens caught three runners to trying to steal Friday.
  • UD won a Friday game for the first time this season. The Blue Hens had been 0-5 coming into today’s contest.
  • Meeker earned his fourth save of the season. He now leads the Blue Hens in saves (4) and is tied for the team-lead in victories (4)
  • Mohollen scored his team-leading 26th run of the game. He has now scored a run in three consecutive games. The centerfielder also stole his team-leading 13th base of the season.
  • Hinton earned his fourth victory of the season. Delaware improves to 6-3 in his nine starts so far this season. The righty lowered his ERA to 2.22 and has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season. The Delaware native also picked off his team-leading third runner of the season in the third inning.
  • Patten extended his hitting streak to eight games and has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games. The first baseman’s homer was the 30th of his career.