NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware baseball team broke open a close game by scoring five runs in the middle innings before relief pitcher Taylor Mahoney worked out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth as the Blue Hens held on for a 7-3 victory over UNCW Saturday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.

Delaware (19-20, 6-7 Colonial Athletic Association) struck first in the bottom of the third inning when Norm Donkin legged out a two-out infield single, moved to third on a double to left by Zach Lopes, and crossed the plate when the throw by UNCW leftfielder Robbie Thorburn hit him in the foot and bounced away.

However the Seahawks (21-21, 6-6 CAA) quickly drew even in the fourth as Terence Connelly led off with a walk and eventually scored on a two-out single to right by Thorburn.

But the Blue Hens would take control by pushing across three runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth to go in front 6-1. Ryan Hartley blasted a double to rightcenter with one away in the fourth, and came around to score one out later on a single to left by Ty Warrington. EJ Stoltzfus then singled home Warrington, while Donkin singled to right to place Joe Giacchino to put Delaware up three.

In the fifth Alex Mottle double down the rightfield line, driving home Lopes and Jake Clark to increase the margin to five. The Seahawks got a run back in the seventh on an RBI double by Teddy Cillis, but Mottle doubled in the bottom half before Doug Trimble singled home pinch runner Cameron Travalini to make it a 7-2 game.

Delaware carried its five-run cushion until the top of the ninth, when Donkin opened the frame with a strikeout but then walked three consecutive UNCW batters. Cillis then bounced a single into right to score Joe Bertone and bring the potential tying run to the plate for the Seahawks. However Mahoney then took the hill and promptly struck out Justin Carroll and Josh Abshire swinging to nail down the victory and record his first career save.

Blue Hen starter Chad Martin picked up the win and moved to 5-3 on the year after he allowed just one run in 5.1 innings despite allowing six hits and walking seven. Luke Alicknavitch then gave up just one run on three hits in 2.2 frames of work. UNCW starter Ryan Foster dropped to 1-2 after being charged with five runs, four earned, on 10 hits in four innings.

Trimble finished 3 for 4 with an RBI at the plate for Delaware while Stoltzfus, Donkin, Lopes and Mottle added two hits apiece. Both teams struggled with runners in scoring position, as UNCW stranded 15 runners while the Blue Hens left 10 on base.

“I thought the difference in the game was the effort by Luke (Alicknavitch) out of the pen and the finish by Taylor (Mahoney),” said Blue Hen head coach Jim Sherman. “Luke has been solid for us all season, and I think Taylor will be key for us down the stretch. Offensively we were really good today as well, and could have scored a few more runs out there.”

Delaware and UNCW will wrap up their weekend series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Bob Hannah Stadium. A ceremony for the official re-dedication of the stadium will begin at 12:30 p.m., with Hannah and nearly 80 former players expected to attend.