HARRISONBURG, Va. – With their preverbal backs against the wall, the University of Delaware baseball team received seven stellar innings from freshman Billy Sullivan IV to defeat Hofstra University 3-1 Wednesday night in a CAA Tournament elimination game at Veterans Park.

Facing the CAA Pitcher of the Year John Rooney, Sullivan IV dialed up one of the strongest outings of his career pitching seven one-run innings. The freshman struck out 11 batters, bringing his season total to 95 on the season. The 95 strikeouts break the all-time freshman program record set by Brandon Walter in 2016.

Delaware (30-26) struck first Wednesday night when Calvin Scott ripped a bases loaded two-out single through the left-hand side of the infield that scored a pair in the bottom of the third inning.

Staked to a 2-0 lead, Sullivan IV fired a perfect 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts in the fourth, and a recorded a scoreless fifth inning to send the game to the sixth.

After striking out the lead-off batter to open the sixth, Sullivan IV made maybe his lone mistake of the night, leaving a ball over the plate that Vito Friscia was able to deposit over the left field wall for the lone Hofstra (23-23) run. Looking to preserve the slim one-run lead, Sullivan IV reached back in the top of the seventh inning, firing a 1-2-3 frame. The Delaware native struck out the final two batters of his outing.

Needing to add to the lead, Delaware placed a runner on base with one-out for Kyle Baker, who took the third pitch he saw and ripped a triple into the right-field corner that plated Mohollen. The extra run was all senior Colman Vila needed, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth, before striking out the side in the ninth.

In total, Delaware placed a runner on base in six of the seven innings that Rooney(8-2) pitched, connecting on six hits and three runs. The Blue Hens also walked five times. Baker went 3-4 while Jordan Hutchins went 2-2 with a walk.

Delaware returns to action tomorrow night at 7 p.m. against either UNCW, College of Charleston or Elon. A UNCW win would match the Blue Hens up with the loser of Charleston/Elon while a Northeastern win would match Delaware and UNCW for the second consecutive day.

Head coach Jim Sherman: 

“Tonight looked like a passing of the torch moment. The best pitcher in the league passing it to the CAA Co-Rookie of the Year. It was that kind of moment. It was a fun ballgame. Rooney is going to be a special pitcher down the road and will be a big leaguer. If Billy continues to climb the ladder he can be in the same position in two or three years. I thought our guys were unbelievably resilient tonight. I saw two pitchers that were very good, and then we got the big base hit from Cal Scott. This was a great ballgame. The good news is we had our tough day today, playing two full games. Whoever we face tomorrow night will be playing their second game of the day. Tomorrow we don’t play until 7 p.m. so we will have a good chance to get some rest. We’ll see if it’s an advantage for us or not.”

On his expectations for Sullivan IV before the year: “I knew Billy was going to help us in some capacity as a starting pitcher. I figured at some point he’d ‘take his lumps’ being new to college baseball. He’s had a few of those moments but overall, he’s been great for us. He’s continued to grow, and coach [O’Neal] has done a great job of teaching him the changeup. It’s become a difference maker and an out pitch for him. He’s been special and I’m proud of him being from Delaware. We couldn’t be happier for him.”

HEN SCRATCHINGS:

• With tonight’s victory, Delaware earned its 30th victory of the season. It’s the Blue Hens third 30-win season since 2015.
• Delaware won a CAA Tournament game for the third consecutive tournament appearance.
• The three earned runs were the most Rooney allowed since Mar. 23 against UNCW.
• Delaware struck out 15 batters tonight. • Vila struck out the final four batters he faced to earn his sixth save. • The lefty has now struck out 57 batters in 45.2 innings
• Sullivan IV threw three 1-2-3 innings tonight.
• The freshman recorded four multiple strikeout innings and struck out five of his final seven batters that
• The double-digit strikeout performance was his third this In the top of the second, Sullivan IV recorded his 86th strikeout of the season.
• Baker raised his average to .355 on the season. He finished a homer short of the cycle recording his 11th double and fifth triple of the season.
• With their efforts today, Sullivan IV and Kyle Hinton both eclipsed the 90 strikeout mark.