Blue Hens Head to Northeastern For Final CAA Baseball Series with a Berth into the Playoffs at Stake
May 12, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
BOSTON, Mass. - - Heading into the final two weekends of play in the Colonial Athletic Association baseball schedule, only one thing is for certain; its going to be a wild finish. Virtually every team still has a chance to make the four-team postseason tournament and the current top four teams all play each other this weekend.
The University of Delaware heads to Northeastern for the Blue Hens final CAA weekend of play, sitting in fifth place with their destiny in their own hands. The three game series will begin on Friday at 3 p.m.
Next Tuesday’s game at Rutgers has been canceled due to Rutgers’ travel and Delaware’s class restraints. The game will not be made up.
Last Time Out:
The Blue Hens (26-24, 15-12 CAA) are looking to end a five game skip and get back on their winning ways after being swept for the first time this season in the CAA last weekend.
Delaware dropped the last five games on its six game home stand, dropping a pair of non-conference games to Maryland and Temple at Bob Hannah Stadium this week. The Blue Hens had ample opportunities to win in both games, but wound up short in dropping the final games of the 2011 home schedule.
In Wednesday’s contest, Temple escaped a bases loaded, no out jam in the eighth inning by only allowing one run and held on for the 12-10 victory.
Chris Branigan, Steve Ulaky and Dave Anderson each hit a home run in the game, but the defense let them down again as they committed three more errors (they committed four against Maryland on Tuesday).
The clutch hits have been escaping the Blue Hens lately, as not only did they score one run with the bases loaded on Wednesday, they also had the game-tying and game-winning runs on base in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the Terrapins.
With the skid, the Blue Hens have fallen to 130 in the up-to-date RPI rankings according to boydsworld.com.
Delaware sits in the middle of the pack in both the team batting and team pitching categories in the CAA. The team is sixth best when it comes to batting average, hitting at a .283 clip. The Blue Hens are also sixth in team pitching, holding the opposition to 4.63 earned runs a game.
This Weekend’s Tentative Rotation:
• Friday: RHP Eric Young (5-2, 4.18 ERA, 12 games, 12 starts, 64.2 IP, 36 SO) vs. RHP Les Williams (5-5, 3.90 ERA, 11 games, 11 starts, 80.2 IP, 64 SO)
• Saturday: TBA vs. LHP Andrew Leenhouts (3-6, 3.44 ERA, 11 games, 11 starts, 70.2 IP, 55 SO)
• Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Brandon McNelis (3-6, 5.32 ERA, 11 games, 11 starts, 66 IP, 66 SO)
The Huskies (16-29, 10-14 CAA) open a seven game home stand on Friday to close out their regular season schedule. They are winners of three of their last five games overall, and recently beat George Mason two out of three games last weekend.
Northeastern needed some magic in the ninth inning on Wednesday to defeat Central Connecticut State in the Huskies most recent contest.
With two outs and the bases empty in the top of the ninth, the visitors got a walk, and back-to-back hits to load the bases. Aaron Barbosa singled into centerfield, easily allowing Jimmy Filter to scurry home with the go-ahead run before Jeff Dunlap was thrown out at home to end the inning.
Dylan Maki then came on to record his team leading sixth save of the season while facing only four batters in the inning.
Barbosa leads the regular starters for the Huskies with a .348 batting average. The freshman is also the best base stealer in the CAA, swiping 26 total bags in 44 games.
Northeastern has not been known for their power this season and its no surprise due to Friedman Diamond’s dimensions (LF: 330; CF: 435; RF: 342). Jon Leroux, Jeff Dunlap and Pete Castoldi lead the team in home runs with three each. Matt Miller, batting .333 with a team high 13 doubles, leads the team with 24 RBI’s.
The Huskies are currently third in the CAA in overall team pitching, bolstering a 4.43 team ERA that is third in the CAA. However, the team is last offensively, ranking 11th in the CAA with a .259 team batting average.
Out in Left Field:
• Friday is the 53rd meeting between the two schools dating back to 1992. The two rivals were members of the America East conference from 1992-01 before NU rejoined forces with Delaware in the CAA in 2006. Delaware swept last year’s three game series and holds a 34-18 all-time advantage over the Huskies.
• 2011 Team Award Winners: MVP: Pat Dameron; Offensive Player of the Year: Steve Ulaky; Pitcher of the Year: Corey Crispell; Defensive Player of the Year: DJ Long; Max Orland Rookie of the Year Award: EJ Stoltzfus; Perry Burkett Triple Effort Award: Jeff Murray and Eric Young.
• Nick Ferdinand (above right) is the first person since Bill Merkler in 2009 to drive in at least one RBI in 10 straight games. He reached 11 games with an RBI in Friday’s loss to ODU but had the streak snapped on Saturday.
• Pat Dameron (below right) now has 244 career hits as a Blue Hen, ranking him 12th on the all-time career list. Scott Waibel (1977-80) is the only Blue Hen player to have over 300 career hits (303), leading the program. He is the 34th player to reach at least 200 career hits.
• Pat Dameron’s RBI on Wednesday gave him 162 for his career. He moved ahead of Alex Buchholz (2006-08) and into sole possession of 11th all-time. Scott Waibel holds the all-time record with 231 career RBI’s. Head coach Jim Sherman is second with 227.
• Pat Dameron’s 1-for-4 day on Wednesday continued his stretch of reaching base at least once in every game this season. April 10 against UNC Wilmington, he reached on a fielder’s choice, and he was hit by a pitch on February 26 against Arizona State marking the only games where he did not get a hit or a walk to reach. Dating back to last season, he has now reached base in 51 straight games.
• Dave Anderson etched his name in the record book at Towson, belting three home runs in Friday’s 16-7 victory. He became the 20th player in Blue Hen history to hit three home runs in a game, matching the feat by fellow seniors Steve Ulaky and Pat Dameron.
• Delaware has now had three freshmen capture at least a share of the CAA Rookie of the Week award as Danny Gatto brought home the award this past week after dominating UNC Wilmington. He pitched six innings of four hit ball, striking out six batters in the no decision. EJ Stoltzfus was last week’s award winner, and Chad Kuhl has also won the award earlier in the season.
• Ulaky went 7-for-14 with four home runs, a double and nine RBI’s in four games and was named a “Louisville Slugger’s” National Co-Player of the Week on March 28. 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.
• 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.
• 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.Back To Baseball Home Baseball Story Archive