Weekend Ends on High Note for University of Delaware Baseball as Blue Hens Down Bryant 5-4; Split Doubleheader
BEL AIR, Md. -- A tough weekend finally ended on a high note for the University of Delaware baseball team.
After suffering a pair of one-sided losses in a doubleheader sweep Friday and seeing their monumental comeback attempt fall short in the first game, the Blue Hens finally got the best of Bryant Saturday afternoon with a 5-4 comeback victory in the second game at Harford Community College.
The victory, which saw the Hens overcome a 4-0 deficit with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and three more in the seventh, helped the Blue Hens (10-12) earn a split on the final day of the two-day, four-game non-league set. Bryant (10-8) had won games by scores of 14-2 and 11-0 on Friday and 10-9 in 10 innings earlier on Saturday.
Delaware junior center fielder Joe Giacchino was the hero in the second game as his two-out single to right field in the bottom of the seventh capped a three-run inning and plated Alex Mottle with the game-winner.
After trailing 4-0 after four innings, the Hens mounted their comeback with home runs by Ryan Hartley in the fifth and Cameron Travalini in the sixth. Doug Trimble singled and moved to third on a double by Greg Olenski - his second of the game - before scoring on a Ty Warrington sacrifice fly. Olenski then scored when Alex Mottle got on base on an error by Bryant third baseman John Mullen and scored when the left-handed Giacchino’s banged out his clutch hit.
“Our guys really battled today,” said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman, whose team snapped a four-game losing streak. “Being down eight runs late and coming back to tie only to lose in extra inning was tough, but to see our guys come back in the second game with three runs in the last inning to win it was something special. Just 24 hours ago we played our worst baseball of the year, and to come back and almost split the series was good to see. I’m proud of all the guys.”
Delaware freshman pitching ace Chad Martin trailed 4-1 after five innings as Bryant scored all four of its runs in the second inning on an RBI double by Zaine Smith and a three-run homer by Dan Cellucci. Martin gave way to Brock Niggebrugge (1-0), who was brilliant in his two innings on the mound to gain the win. He struck out the side in the sixth and got the final out on another strikeout in the seventh with two runners on base.
The first monumental comeback attempt fell agonizingly short in the opener as the Hens dropped a 10-9 decision in 10 innings. Delaware fell behind 9-1 after seven innings but proceeded to score eight runs in the bottom of that inning to tie the game up at 9-9.
Bryant scored a run in the top of the 10th and then got out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the win. Delaware had runners on first and second with two outs but Bryant reliever Michael Marshall got Delaware's Zach Lopes to fly out to center field to end the game.
The Blue Hens' seventh inning comeback was highlighted by a three-run home run by Hartley and a grand slam from Trimble that tied the game. Bryant scored the game-winning run off Delaware relief ace Luke Alicknavitch (0-2) on a home run by Tom Gavitt with two outs.
Bryant hit five home runs in the first game while Delaware also got a round-tripper from Mottle.