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LUBBOCK, Tex. -- The University of Delaware will make its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2001 this weekend as the Colonial Athletic Association champion Blue Hens open play Friday at 3 p.m. (EST) against host and top-seed Texas Tech.

The Blue Hens (34-21), winners of 10 of their last 11 games, including a 4-0 sweep in the CAA Tournament, will take on a Texas Tech team that is the No. 5 national seed and is ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in the Baseball America poll. The Red Raiders bring a record of 43-15 into the regional.

In Friday's other first round game, No. 2 seed Arizona (37-19) will take on No. 3 seed Sam Houston State (40-20) at 7 p.m. All games in the double-elimination tournament will be played at Tech's Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.

Play will continue on Saturday with the two losing teams facing off at 3 p.m. followed by the two winning teams at 7 p.m. Action will continue Sunday and potentially Monday. 

The Hens' outscored the CAA opponents by a combined score of 38-14, and trailed for just three and one-half innings the entire tournament long.

“We're excited as a team to be here, but we have a job to do,” said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman, who last led his team to the NCAA Regionals in 2001 when the Hens defeated host Ohio State in the opening game. “It's been 16 years since the last time we've been in a regional so it's good to be back. It's a great facility and environment so far down here. We're ready to go for tomorrow.”   

The game will be streamed live on and live stats will be available.

“Being at practice, the excitement was starting to set in,” Game 1 projected starter Ron Marinaccio said Thursday afternoon. “It should be a raucous environment, because it's going to be packed. I keep trying to tell myself it's just another game, because it's still just baseball, even though we have not played in an atmosphere like this all year. We just need to control what we can control. We are xcited and ready to go."

CAA Tournament in Review:
On Wednesday afternoon, Delaware defeated College of Charleston 9-0 behind a two-hit complete game shutout from Marinaccio, who allowed just an infield single in the first inning, a two-out walk in the sixth, and a two-out single in the ninth. He faced just three batters above the minimum. Senior shortstop Jeremy Ake went 3-4 with two RBI to lead the offense.

Thursday evening, the Blue Hens faced-off with top seeded Northeastern and posted a 5-3 victory. Again, pitching was the story as starter Nick Spadafino pitched five and one-third strong innings, allowing just back-to-back solo home runs in the fourth to earn his team-high seventh victory.

At the plate, Ake hit a clutch two-run home run and the Blue Hens received three and two-thirds of strong relief from setup man Colman Vila and closer Burk FitzPatrick. FitzPatrick pitched the final four outs to earn his sixth save of the season.

The Blue Hens returned to action Friday and Saturday against host UNCW. On Friday, the Blue Hens jumped out to an early 3-0 on a three-run home run by Patten and cruised to a 14-8 victory. UNCW battled back and took a 6-3 lead in the fourth inning. Delaware, behind two runs in the fourth and eight runs in the sixth took the lead for good.

The eight-run sixth inning featured a pair of two-out home runs by catcher Brian Mayer and centerfielder Kevin Mohollen. Nine straight Blue Hens reached base safely as UD drove in all eight runs with two outs.

After UNCW defeated Northeastern in the final elimination game of the tournament, the Seahawks and Blue Hens met one final time. The Hens put the game away early as they scored nine times in the first inning on the way to a 10-3 victory. Patten and Nick Tierno each knocked in two runs as the Hens scored their 10 runs on just seven hits. Blue Hen reliever Kyle Hinton pitched seven one-run innings to preserve the win for the Blue Hens.

Scouting the Foes:
The Red Raiders, who earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament out of the Big 12 Conference, are batting .305 as a team and have six batters hitting over .300 this season. Freshman Grant Little and Hunter Hargrove are both hitting a team leading .342 this season.

Hargrove has hit 24 doubles and five home runs and driven in 51 runs. Slugger Orlando Garcia has hit a team-best 12 home runs, driving in team-high 57 runs.

On the mound, Tech is paced by LHP Steven Gingery, who has a record of 9-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 85 innings pitched. Game 1 projected starter Davis Martin just recently returned from injury and pitched three innings in the Big 12 Tournament, allowing five hits and three earned runs.

Arizona comes into the weekend with a record of 37-19, having gone 16-14 in the Pac 12. Offensively, the Wildcats are paced by first baseman JJ Marijevic, who has hit .389 this season with 29 doubles and 54 runs scored. On the mound, the Wildcats have three starting pitchers with a sub-3.00 ERA. JC Cloney leads the team in innings (82.2) while Cameron Ming leads the team in ERA (2.70).

The final member of the Lubbock regional, Sam Houston State, comes into the game with a record of 40-20 overall, including a 19-11 record in Southland Conference play. Bryce Johnson leads the BearKats with 30 stolen bases and with 83 hits. Blake Chisolm is hitting .355 with a team-leading 16 doubles. On the mound, Heath Donica leads the way with nine wins, a 1.69 ERA, and 100 strikeouts in 101 innings pitched.

All-Time Series:
Delaware has never faced any of the teams in the Lubbock regional and the Blue Hens will play a game in the state of Texas for only the second time in program history. UD opened the season in February, 2012 against the University of Houston. Delaware is 17-27 in NCAA Tournament games (excluding NCAA play-in games). 

Pitching Matchup:
Game 1: Delaware RHP Ron Marinaccio (4-2, 1.85 ERA, 58.1 IP) vs. RHP Davis Martin (4-2, 3.05 ERA, 38.1 IP).

“For me, the key tomorrow is my fastball location,” said Marinaccio. “Getting ahead in counts lately has been key. (Pitching) Coach Troy [O'Neal] has done a great job of calling the game. As long as we field the way we have been, we should be okay.”

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