Blue Hen Baseball Set for Early Season First Place Tilt against CAA Foe Georgia State
March 31, 2011
File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Updated CAA Stats (pdf)
NEWARK, Del. - - The University of Delaware baseball team opens a vital early season Colonial Athletic Association weekend series against first place Georgia State on Friday at Bob Hannah Stadium. Friday is slated to start at 3 p.m.
Last Time Out:
The Blue Hens look to keep their momentum from Tuesday’s 15-12 walk-off victory over Temple in the first round of the Liberty Bell Classic this weekend against one of the CAA preseason favorites.
Nick Ferdinand sent the Hens into the second round of the Liberty Bell Classic with a three-run homerun in the bottom of the tenth inning, making it the second walk-off homerun for the Blue and Gold this season. They had to recollect themselves after Temple tied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-run blast of their own. It was Ferdinand’s second homerun of the season.
Steve Ulaky continued his hot streak on Tuesday, as he blasted his team-leading sixth homerun of the season in the first inning, giving the Hens the 2-1 lead. He was named this week’s Collegiate Baseball Newspaper “Louisville Slugger’s” National Co-Player of the Week for his powerful performance last week.
Freshmen Alex Mottle, Dylan Shupe and EJ Stoltzfus led the charge for the Blue Hens offensively, each recording two hits on the afternoon against the Owls. DJ Long, Ferdinand and Mottle tallied three RBI’s each as well.
Matt Soren tossed the first five innings against the Owls, giving up six runs (four earned), with nine hits. He also struck out four batters in the no decision. Matt Harden, Michael O’Keeffe and Jeff Murray pitched the next two innings, before handing the ball over to Steve Richter for the final three. Richter picked up his second win of the season while striking out four batters.
This Weekend’s Tentative Rotation:
• Friday: RHP Eric Young (above, at right) (2-2, 3.86 ERA, 30.1 IP, 15 SO’s) vs. LHP Aidan Francis (4-0, 5.40 ERA, 31.2 IP, 22 SO’s)
• Saturday: RHP Danny Gatto (1-2, 3.26 ERA, 19.1 IP, 9 SO’s) vs. RHP Charley Olson (2-2, 3.41 ERA, 31.2 IP, 30 SO’s)
• Sunday: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-1, 3.51 ERA, 25.2 IP, 21 SO’s) vs. RHP Justin Malone (4-0, 4.13 ERA, 32.2 IP, 18 SO’s)
Scouting Georgia State:
Georgia State and Delaware sit atop the CAA standings, along with James Madison and UNC Wilmington, all with a .667 winning percentage in conference play. Georgia State comes in only playing two CAA series, going 4-2 over that span. James Madison is 8-4 while UNC Wilmington and the Blue Hens sit at 6-3.
After sweeping Towson to open CAA play, the Panthers dropped two of three to visiting VCU last weekend. They are 21-6 overall on the season, and are coming off a 16-0 thrashing over Florida A&M on Tuesday.
Preseason CAA Player of the Year Mark Micowski is batting .348 in 112 at-bats, leading the team with 39 hits. He has 10 doubles, two triples and two homeruns as well on the season. The speedy outfielder is 7-9 on the base paths as well so far in the season.
Brandon Williams and Ryan Fleming were also picked on the Preseason All-CAA Team and are among the team leaders on offense as well. Williams is batting .385 with five doubles and 20 RBI’s while Fleming is hitting .317 with a team leading six homeruns and 30 RBI’s.
Micowski and William have each been named CAA Players of the Week once this season, while pitchers Francis and Malone have each been Co-Pitchers of the Week this year.
Out of Left Field:
• Ulaky (below right) went 7-for-14 with four homeruns, a double and nine RBI’s in four games last week and was named a “Louisville Slugger’s” National Co-Player of the Week. He added to his homerun totals in his first at-bat against Temple on Tuesday with a two-run shot to right, making it five in five games.
• The Blue Hens are now 4-0 this season in extra-inning affairs. Dating back to last season, they have won five straight extra-inning contests. Pat Dameron also hit a walk-off homerun this season, capping game one against George Mason with a three-run homerun in the 11th in a game that had to be continued the following day due to darkness.
• Although the team got off to a slow start with the new bat regulations mandated by the NCAA, Steve Ulaky powered through with an NCAA record tying performance against Delaware State on March 22. His two homeruns in the same inning tied an NCAA record, held by numerous players. His three homeruns in one game also tied a Delaware program record, as he became the 19th player in Blue Hen history to hit three jacks in a single contest. Ryan Cuneo and classmate Pat Dameron most recently did it in the same game last season, a 25-10 decision over Hofstra on May 8.
• Pat Dameron’s double with one out in the sixth on March 16 against Delaware State in the Route 1 Rivalry not only set up two crucial runs for the Hens, but it was also his 200th career hit. Dameron became the 34th player to join the 200 Hit Club, and currently has 206 career hits, placing him in 30th with over half a season to play. Scott Waibel holds the record with 303 hits during his time as a Blue Hen in 1977-80. Other notable names in the Club are head coach Jim Sherman and associate head coach Dan Hammer. Sherman stands in fifth with 261 career hits from 1979-82 while Hammer is right behind in sixth with 258 career hits during his time from 1993-96.
• The Blue Hens made the most of their trip to the west coast in February, knocking off the then ranked no. 9 Arizona State Sun Devils in the first game of the four-game series. The Blue Hens’ last win against a ranked team was in 2001 against no. 18 East Carolina. The victory over the Sun Devils marks the highest ranked opponent the Blue Hens have defeated since beating no. 8 North Carolina in the 1983 NCAA East Regional Baseball Tournament.
• The 5-1 CAA record through the first three series is the best start for the Blue Hens since joining the CAA in 2002. They jumped out to a 4-2 start in 2009. This is the best start to a conference schedule since 2001, when they were a part of America East and started 6-2 through the first two series.
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