HARRISONBURG, Va. – The University of Delaware baseball team lost its first round contest in the Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championships against host James Madison, 9-6, Thursday morning at JMU’s Eagle Field at Veteran’s Memorial Park.

The game began on Wednesday afternoon but play was suspended  due to severe weather in the area in the fourth inning with James Madison holding a 4-2 lead. The game was resumed on Thursday at 9 a.m.
Delaware, the tournament No. 3 seed, drops to 33-21 overall and will face No. 5 seed Northeastern in an elimination game at 11:20 a.m. while No. 6 seed James Madison improves to 25-28 and will face No. 2 seed William & Mary at 6:00 p.m. Thursday. The double elimination tournament continues on Friday with the championship set for Saturday. The champion earns an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. 

Chris Branigan’s (at right) two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning put the Blue Hens on the scoreboard for the firs time in the game.  CAA Player of the Year Jimmy Yezzo added a RBI single that was part of UD’s two-run fifth inning and knotted the game at 4-4.  Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Delaware added a run on EJ Stoltzfus’ RBI single. In the bottom of ninth inning, the Blue Hens score one run on pinch-hitter Alex Mottle’s RBI single, but left the game-tying run on the bases.

Dan Gatto (4-3) suffered the loss for the Blue Hens after he threw 3.2 innings of relief and was charged wth three earned runs on seven hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Chad Kuhl, a second team All-CAA selection, received a no-decision after the Blue Hen righty tossed 3.2 innings and surrendered four earned runs on four hits and six walks.

The Dukes took an early 4-0 lead through the first two innings led by a two-run single by Bradley Shaban in the first inning and a Matt Tenaglia leadoff solo home run in the top of the second frame.  JMU added three runs in the top of the sixth inning with the help of SHaban’s two-run home run and Tenaglia’s RBI single.  JMU added two runs in the top of the ninth inning that made the score 9-5 on a two-run triple by Conner Brown that UD’s Nick Ferdinand lost in the sun in right field.

Dukes reliever Patrick Toohers (3-8) earned the win after he held the Blue Hens to three earned runs on four hits and one walk in 3.1 innings out of the bullpen. Chris Huffman produced his eighth save of the season for JMU after he was charged with one earned run on four hits, one walk and two strikeouts over the final 2.2 innings of the game.

James Madison starter Mark Gunst also was handed a no-decision after the right-hander yielded two earned runs on three hits, two walks and four strikeouts in three innings on Wednesday.