Blue Hens Split DH with Fordham, Win First Game Behind Pitching Gem by Gatto; Teams Close Out Series Sunday at Noon
BEL AIR, Md. -- University of Delaware pitcher Dan Gatto came up with a gem in the home opener for the Blue Hen baseball squad Saturday afternoon as he allowed just three hits in eight innings on the way to a 3-1 victory in the first game of a doubleheader against Fordham.
Fordham (2-3) picked up the win in the second game as the Rams scored four runs in the seventh inning to come away with a 5-3 victory.
Both games were played at Harford Community College as Delaware's Bob Hannah Stadium is currently undergoing renovations that have been delayed due to the severe winter weather.
The two teams will close out their three-game set Sunday at 12 noon at Harford CC. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. but the time has moved up due in response to weather reports of snow later in the afternoon.
The Hens (4-5) won their third straight game in the opener as Ty Warrington delivered a run-scoring double in the third inning, Brock Niggebrugge drove in a run on a fielders choice in the fifth inning and later scored for the 3-1 lead.
Luke Alicknavitch pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the year and secure the win for Gatto. He induced a double play to clinch the UD victory.
In the scheduled seven-inning nightcap, Delaware took a 3-1 lead after six innings as Zach Lopes, who had four hits on the day, knocked in a run with a double in the second inning and a run-scoring single in the fourth, and Warrington scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.
Brandon Hinkle went six strong innings on the mound for Delaware, allowing just four hits and striking out 11 batters before giving way to Alicknavitch in the seventh.
But the Hens could not hold the lead as Fordham scored four times in the top of the inning to pick up the victory. A sacrifice fly by Brendan Maghini cut the lead to 3-2 and an RBI single by Rob McCunney tied the score at 3-3.
The Rams then went ahead when McCunney scored on an error and upped the lead to 5-3 when Ryan Phelan scored on a passed ball.
"We got a great pitching performance from Gatto, going eight innings and giving up one run while striking out four," said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. "Alicknavitch also came up great in getting the ground ball double play and the save. It was really tough and disappointing for us to lose that second game. We were in control for much of the day, but we let it get away from us by allowing those four runs in the seventh inning. We saw a great outing from (Brandon) Hinkle today, and (Luke) Alicknavitch has been good in save situations this season until that setback today. We have to bounce back and get that rubber game tomorrow.”