Delaware Bats Too Much to Handle as Blue Hens Sweep James Madison in CAA Doubleheader
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware baseball team bounced back from a rough weekend in a big way Thursday as the Blue Hens manhandled James Madison and swept their Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader at Bob Hannah Stadium.
Delaware (24-24, 10-9 CAA) scored 24 runs and banged out 31 hits in the two games as the Hens rebounded from two losses at Towson last week with wins of 11-5 and 13-9 over the Dukes.
Every Blue Hens starter in the two games reached base and, with the exception of one UD batter in game two, every Blue Hen starter recorded at least one hit in each game.
Seniors Dan Gatto and Connor Hibbs earned the victories on the mound for the Blue Hens while James Madison’s Aaron Hoover and Chris Huffman took the losses.
“I wasn’t happy about last weekend, but we really bounced back well today,” said University of Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. “Our guys have really played well for the majority of the conference season. Today was an offensive day and we really swung the bats well, but we know they (JMU) are trying everything they can to get to the postseason. We will have to come ready to play Saturday.”
The teams were scheduled to play single games on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but the threat of rain Friday forced officials to schedule two games on Thursday. On Saturday, the Blue Hens will honor their seven seniors.
In game one, Delaware built an early lead by notching one run in the first inning and added another on Ryan Hartley’s team-leading sixth home run of the season in the second inning.
James Madison scored one run in the fifth, but the Blue Hens answered with two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to put the game out of reach.
With a five-run lead, the Blue Hens then piled on with a five-run seventh inning that was highlighted by a three-run home run from Cameron Travalini. The round-tripper was the senior’s second of the season.
Gatto (4-6) gave up only one earned run on eight hits in seven innings of work to earn his fourth victory of the season and his first since March 14.
Taylor Mahoney struggled in the last two innings as the junior allowed four runs on four hits, but was still able to close out the game for the Blue Hens.
Hartley and Travalini led the team with three RBI each in game one, while E.J. Stoltzfus registered a game-high four hits.
The Dukes (16-34, 7-12 CAA) were kept at bay most of the game by Gatto’s pitching, but Matt Tenaglia still managed a team-high three hits including his fifth home run of the season. Josh Wyatt also went yard in the losing effort.
In game two, the Blue Hens offense picked up right where they had left off. Delaware put crooked numbers on the scoreboard in each of the first four innings and, despite a few scares from the James Madison offense late, were able to bring home its 10th conference victory of the season.
The Blue Hens scored 11 runs in the first three innings and had the Dukes playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.
Delaware received some gifts from James Madison in the first inning as the Blue Hens were able to score three runs in the first with just two balls leaving the infield and they scored two of their three runs on wild pitches.
Stoltzfus and Alex Mottle drove in two runs each as a part of a five-run second inning. Delaware added three more runs in the third before Joe Giacchino capped off the Blue Hen scoring in the fourth inning with an RBI single.
Giacchino and Mottle led the Blue Hens with a team-high three RBI in game two. Norm Donkin, Jake Clark, Zach Lopes, Stoltzfus, Travalini, and Giacchino each had multi-hit performances in the second game.
Chad Martin started game two, but because of the early lead, Sherman pulled him in hopes of getting more rest for next week's CAA Baseball Championship. The righty pitched three innings and only gave up one run on two hits.
Hibbs relieved Martin in the fourth inning and gave up five earned runs in two innings of work, but was still able to pick up his first win of the season.
Facing a 13-1 deficit in the sixth inning, James Madison managed to score six runs and significantly close the gap. The inning’s offensive fireworks were highlighted by a two-run triple from Wyatt.
After not registering a hit in the seventh or eighth innings, the Dukes were able to put more pressure on the Blue Hens in the ninth inning.
Kevin Husum and Tyler Gregory each drove in runs in the inning and were able to close the Blue Hens lead to 13-9, but that was as close as the Dukes would get as Alicknavitch was eventually able to retire the side and end the game.The second game of the doubleheader marked the fourth time this season the Blue Hens have scored more than 12 runs in a game.
Stoltzfus and Lopes had hits in each game and were able to extend their hitting streaks to 10 games each.
The Blue Hens and the Dukes will go at it again Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bob Hannah Stadium. Saturday’s game will be the regular season finale as Hens will honore their seniors in a pregame ceremony.