HARRISONBURG, Va. – Despite eight strong innings from junior Kyle Hinton, the University of Delaware baseball program fell 2-1 to UNCW Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of the 2018 CAA Tournament at Veteran Park.

Locked in a pitchers’ duel for a majority of the game, the Blue Hens (29-26) and Seahawks (34-20) traded scoreless frames until the top of the fourth when Nick Patten lifted a home run to right field.

 The game remained 1-0 Blue Hens until the bottom of the seventh when UNCW tied the game at one on an RBI single. After each team fired a scoreless eighth inning, Delaware went down in order in the top of the ninth.

Locked in a 1-1 battle, Hinton (6-7) returned to the mound for the ninth, issuing a four-pitch lead-off walk. With the lead-off man on first base Delaware made a pitching change, bringing in James Meeker. After retiring the first batter he faced on a flyout, Cole Weiss doubled to right field, scoring Greg Jones from first base.

In defeat, Hinton threw eight-plus innings allowing just six hits and two runs. The righty struck out 10 batters. Junior Erik Bowren went 2-3 at the plate, while Patten went 2-4 with the homer.

The setback places Delaware in the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Delaware returns to action Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. against the loser of Charleston/Hofstra. The winner of that game will advance to the second round of the tournament (Thursday, 7 p.m.), while the loser will be eliminated.

Head coach Jim Sherman:

“Today we got the pitching that we needed from Kyle, but we didn’t get the offense. It wasn’t anywhere near as strong as we needed in a tournament game. I tip my hat to UNCW’s starter. He matched Kyle pitch-for-pitch today. Someone was going to be excited about winning that game and someone was going to be happy with how they played. Unfortunately for us we lost the game. I’m still happy with how our guys played and how well Kyle threw. We just didn’t have enough offense.”

On tonight’s elimination game:
“It’s tough jumping into the losers bracket because now we have to play twice today. Fortunately we get a little bit of rest between games as we don’t have to play again until 7:00 p.m. Obviously, the team that we play tonight is going to have to come right back and play. From that stand-point we get a little bit of rest between games. Every moment, pitch and play is important. It’s all hands-on-deck from here. I expect our kids to rebound and play well.