Mottle's Bat, Gatto's Arm Lead Delaware Baseball to Big 10-2 Win over Fairfield
BEL AIR, Md. - University of Delaware senior designated hitter Alex Mottle blasted two home runs as part of a career-high six RBI day and Dan Gatto picked up the win on the mound with an outstanding effort as the Blue Hens raced past Fairfield 10-2 Friday afternoon to open a three-game weekend set at Harford Community College.
Mottle,a lefthanded hitter from Pennington, N.J. (Hopewell Valley HS) knocked in a run in the third inning on a groundout, blasted a two-run homer to right field in the fifth inning, and then followed with a three-run shot to nearly the same spot in the sixth to highlight his career day. His six RBIs are the most by a Delaware player since All-American and current Washington Nationals farmhand Jimmy Yezzo had seven against UMBC in 2012.
Delaware (7-8) won for the third time in the last four outings and surpassed the 10-run mark for the third straight home game at Harford CC. Fairfield (3-6) lost it second straight game.
“It felt good to get some pitches that I could get my bat out on today,” said Mottle, who now leads the team with three home runs and 11 RBIs. “I’m also kind of shocked because they (home run pitches) were both off-speed pitches that I was able to handle.”
Mottle’s efforts were part of a season-high 17-hit attack that was the Blue Hens’ highest output since recording 19 hits in a 16-1 win over George Mason last Apr. 7. Center fielder Joe Giacchino collected four hits from his lead-off spot while EJ Stoltzfus, Norm Donkin, Zach Lopes, Mottle, and Ryan Hartley, and Ty Warrington all had two hits.
“This was our best offensive performance of the year,” said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. “Mottle and Giacchino both had outstanding hitting displays and Gatto did a nice job of mixing his pitches and keeping Fairfield hitters off balance.”
Warrington opened the UD scoring with an RBI single in the second, Donkin had an RBI double and Mottle knocked in another run with his groundout in the third, and Mottle hit his first home run in the fifth as Delaware built a 5-1 lead. The five-run sixth inning was highlighted by Mottle’s three-run shot and Stoltzfus’ two-run double.
Gatto, a senior righthander, improved to 3-2 as he went eight innings and allowed just two runs on six hits before giving way to Luke Alicknavitch in the ninth. Alicknavitch coaxed Fairfield’s Jake Salpietro to hit into a double play and then struck out Jack Giannini to end the game.
Centerfielder Jack Witkus had two hits and Salpietro smashed a solo home run over the leftfield fence in the second inning to lead the Fairfield offense. Starting pitcher Mike Wallace (0-3) lasted just five innings and took the loss.
The teams will continue the non-league series Saturday at 1 p.m. at Harford CC with Delaware’s Brandon Hinkle (2-1, 4.81 ERA) taking on Fairfield’s EJ Ashworth (1-1, 3.31 ERA) for the pitching matchup. The third and final game of the set will be held Sunday at 1 p.m.