Ferdinand and Branigan Homer to Lead Delaware Past VCU, 6-3, in Game One
April 29, 2011
Photos courtesy of Mark Campbell
RICHMOND, Va. - - Scoring single runs in four straight innings helped the University of Delaware baseball team take the first game of a three game Colonial Athletic Association series over Virginia Commonwealth on Friday night at The Diamond.
Delaware (24-18, 14-8 CAA) used solo home runs from Nick Ferdinand and Chris Branigan, as well as single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to move ahead of UNC Wilmington in the CAA Standings. UNC Wilmington fell to James Madison in the first of a three-game series.
EJ Stoltzfus continued he torrid streak, singling in his first at-bat of the game in the top of the second. He single to right score Nick Ferdinand (above right) from second, giving the Blue Hens the 1-0 lead.
VCU (16-23, 8-11 CAA) came back and tied the game in bottom half of the inning, but the tie did not lost long as Stoltzfus walked up to bat once again in the third. This time he singled into left field, plating Pat Dameron who walked with one out in the inning. Steve Ulaky moved Dameron into scoring position with a single through the right side.
Chris Branigan (below right), who was penciled in as a starter in the beginning of the year but has dealt with leg injuries for a majority of his sophomore season, has come on strong in the past week, playing in his third game and hitting at least one extra base hit in all three. Tonight, Branigan made it a 3-1 game in the fourth with a lead off blast to right field for his first home run of the year.
The Blue Hens made it four straight innings scoring a single run as Ferdinand hit a 1-1, two out pitch over the wall in left for a solo shot, his seventh of the season.
Starter Eric Young pitched five and a third innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, but it was reliever Jeff Murray who got the Blue Hens out of a jam in the sixth. Already giving up two runs to cut the lead to 4-3, Murray came in and walked Chris Ayers on four pitches to load the bases. He then got Landon Prentiss to ground into an unconventional inning ending double play.
Prentiss chopped one to third base as Stoltzfus came up and fired home to Aaron Mascoe for the force out. Mascoe quickly turned and threw to first base for the 5-2-1 double-play.
Following the jam, Murray worked a clean seventh and eighth, keeping the 4-3 lead into the top of the ninth. The Blue Hens were able to tack on a pair of insurance runs for closer Steve Richter.
With one out, Delaware loaded the bases following two singles, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk. Dameron was unable to put the ball in play, but with two outs, Ulaky sent a ball back up the middle, scoring pinch runner Alex Mottle and Mascoe for the 6-3 lead.
Sticking with Murray in the bottom of the ninth, the Blue Hens sent VCU down in order in the bottom of the ninth, closing the game and giving Delaware the game one victory.
Murray finished the final 3.2 innings of work, only allowing one hit while striking out two Ram batters. Young finished with three strikeouts and picked up his fifth win of the season. Ulaky, Ferdinand, Stoltzfus and Branigan all finished with two hits apiece as
Ulaky and Stoltzfus led the Blue Hens with two RBI’s each. Paul Nice and Joey Cujas had four of the nine hits to lead the Rams.
The series continues on Saturday with the first pitch of game two scheduled for 4 p.m.
Delaware… 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 – 6 11 1
VCU………… 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 – 3 9 0
E – Long. DP – Delaware 2; VCU 1. LOB – Delaware 8; VCU 9. 2B – Ferdinand; Cheatham. HR – Ferdinand (7); Branigan (1). SH – Yates; Nice. SB – Ulaky; Cullen.
Win – Eric Young (5-2). Loss – Seth Cutler-Votlz (1-6). Save – Jeff Murray (1)Back To Baseball Home Baseball Story Archive