NEWARK, Del. -- Behind a five-run seventh inning, the University of Delaware baseball program defeated its in-state rival Delaware State University 9-5, Saturday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.

Entering the home-half of the seventh deadlocked at two, the Blue Hens (3-4) ultimately pushed across five runs to take a 7-2 lead over Delaware State (2-5).

Catcher Matt Rykaczewski led-off the inning with a triple. After a walk and a pop-out, second baseman Erik Bowren stole second, leaving a pair of runners in scoring position for outfielder Kyle Baker. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Baker roped a triple down the right field line bringing home both Rykaczewski and Bowren. Redshirt freshman Chance DiFebbo then scored Baker on a fielders choice for the third run of the inning. Nick Patten later doubled to score DiFebbo for the fourth run of the inning. Patten later scored the fifth run of the inning on a two-out error.  

Delaware received two more insurance runs in the eighth on a Kevin Mohollen single and a Baker sacrifice fly, bringing the lead to 9-2. Delaware State added three two-out runs in the top of the ninth, but Clay Conaway ultimately recorded the final out, stranding the bases loaded.

In the victory, senior Nick Spadafino pitched six strong innings allowing just two runs, while Baker drove in four runs. 

Delaware returns to action tomorrow afternoon for the final two games of the series. Junior Kyle Hinton is scheduled to throw game one of the doubleheader for Delaware with Billy Sullivan IV slated to throw in the nightcap.

Head coach Jim Sherman

"It was good to see the guys really battle on what was a cold windy day. We once again got another strong outing on the mound, as Spadafino, Meeker and Conaway were all good. We started a bit slow at the plate, but eventually, the bats got going. I thought [Diaz] Nardo, Bowren, Baker and Rykaczewski all had good days at the plate. It was great to win our home opener. Hopefully, we can get two more tomorrow." 

Kyle Baker: 

“Through the first few weeks of the season, we’ve seen a lot of positive signs. Our pitching has been phenomenal, so that’s a good sign going forward. Our offense has started a bit slow, but I think today was a step in the right direction. Today, in the later innings we just wanted to stay with our approach and try to make good things happen.”

• Baker is now hitting .444 this season with six runs scored and seven RBI. The Hockessin native's four RBI were a career-high. 

• Rykaczewski returned to the lineup after a two-game absence. The transfer went two-for-four today with a pair of runs scored and his first Delaware RBI. 
• Blue Hens reliever James Meeker struck out a career-high seven batters in his two and two-thirds innings. 
• Delaware scored a season-best nine runs this afternoon. 
• The Hens are outscoring opponents 7-1 this season in the seventh inning.

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