Delaware Hosts VCU in CAA Weekend Series at Bob Hannah Stadium
April 13, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware Blue Hens baseball team will host the Virginia Commonwealth Rams for their first Colonial Athletic Association, weekend series of the month of April that will that will run through Sunday at Bob Hannah Stadium. The action begins on Friday, April 13, with first pitch set for 3 p.m. Saturday’s game will have a 1 p.m. start while Sunday’s finale of the series has a 1 p.m. game time.
UD looks to return above .500 as the Blue Hens enter the weekend series splitting their two, mid-week games with a win over UMBC and a St. Joseph’s defeat. VCU is the only school in the CAA with an above .500 overall record (18-15) but are below .500 in conference play (6-9). Delaware sits in a three-way tie with George Mason and Towson for third place in the CAA with 9-6 conference record while VCU is eighth in the conference with a 6-9 record.
The Rams (18-15, 6-9 CAA), who were ranked fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association’s preseason coach’s poll, enters the weekend series after an 18-1 victory over VMI on Tuesday. VCU is currently riding a three-game CAA losing skid after being swept by George Mason last week and have a 3-3 CAA road record this season. The Rams will have Associate Head Coach, Shawn Stiffler, leading the Rams this weekend as 18-year veteran Head Coach, Paul Keyes, has taken a leave of absence from day-to-day duties due to health concerns.
VCU pitching staff leads the CAA with 253 strikeouts while posting the fourth-lowest, team earned-run average at 4.23 (138 ER/293.2 IP). The Rams have two go-to relievers in Matt Lees (17) and Blake Hauser (16), who are among the CAA leaders in appearances. Hauser sits second in the CAA with seven saves. Saturday’s starter, Ryan Farrar, has a CAA Top 10 ERA at 3.31 (19 ER/51.2 IP).
VCU offense ranks second in the CAA with a .296 (343-for-1158) batting average and the Rams bats rest in the association’s top five in doubles (72), triples (12) and slugging percentage (.405). The duo of Joey Cujas (.453) and Bill Cullen (.377) pace the Rams batting order and rank in the top 10 of individual batting averages in the conference. Cujas, a two-time CAA player of the week, can be found around the CAA offensive leaderboard in doubles (14), RBI (33), walks (19), total bases (74) in addition to a .541 on-base percentage and .632 slugging percentage. Cullen sits in the CAA leaders in hits (55), triples (8), runs scored (36) and total bases (89).
The Blue Hens (17-17, 9-6 CAA) hosts their first CAA, weekend series of the month after spending the last two weekends traveling to Virginia for conference play. UD enters the series winning five of their last six CAA games, but have a 2-4 home CAA record this season. Delaware split their two mid-week games with a win over UMBC and defeat to St. Joseph’s.
Delaware’s pitching staff sits fifth in the CAA with a team ERA of 4.90 (159 ER/292.0 IP) and ranks second in the association with 249 strikeouts. The Blue Hens pitching staff sits second in the CAA with 7.67 strikeouts per nine innings. Devon Pearson (6) and Stephen Richter (5) rank in the top five of the CAA in saves. Pearson also sits in the top five of the country in ERA at 0.80 (3 ER/33.2 IP). Friday starter, Eric, Young, leads the pitching staff with 52.1 innings pitched.
Blue Hens have a team batting average of .270 (306-for-1134), which puts Delaware ninth in CAA. Jimmy Yezzo has been on an offensive tear over the last 11 games, where the sophomore has hit .400 (16-for-40) with 17 RBI, 16 runs scored and seven extra-base hits (four doubles and three home runs). Collecting hits in 10 of the 11 games in that span, Yezzo has raised his average from .250 to .337 during this hot streak. The team has 69 multi-hit games with Tyler Powell leading the charge as the freshman has 10 multi-hit games on the season. Powell also leads the team with a .376 (35-for-93), which puts him seventh in the CAA in batting average. Cameron Travalini and DJ Long each are riding five-game hitting streaks entering the weekend series. Travalini is batting .273 (6-for-22) while Long is hitting at a .350 (7- clip during their streaks.
DELAWARE VS. VCU SERIES HISTORY
Entering this weekend’s series Delaware and VCU have played 37 times with the Blue Hens owning a 21-16 record over the Rams. Last year, UD took two-of-three games against VCU in Richmond. The Blue Hens and Rams series began in 1975.
Game One – Friday, 3:00 p.m. (Live Stats)
UD – Eric Young, Sr. RHP [3-3, 4.47 ERA (26 ER/52.1 IP), 40 SO]
Suffered a loss to William and Mary in his last start as the righty surrendered seven runs (six earned) on seven hits, three walks and five strikeouts in five innings on the hill. The right-hander leads Delaware’s pitching staff with 52.1 innings pitched and is second with 40 strikeouts. He ranks in the CAA top five in opponent batting average (.240) and innings pitched (52.1). During the week of 2/28 he was named CAA Pitcher of the Week, after he tossed eight scoreless innings and held The Citadel on February 24, to three hits, two walks and six strikeouts for his first win of the season.
VCU – Kyle Haynes, Jr., RHP [2-3, 4.21 ERA (24 ER/51.1 IP), 44 SO]
Haynes lost to George Mason in his last start on April 6, where the right-hander scattered three earned runs, six hits, two walks and six strikeouts over six innings pitched. Haynes ranks fourth in the CAA with 44 strikeouts
Game Two – Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (Live Stats)
UD – Corey Crispell, r-Sr., RHP [4-1, 3.91 ERA (22 ER/50.2 IP), 31 SO]
Crispell enters weekend play with the third-most victories in the CAA (4) and makes his eighth start (10th appearance) for the Blue Hens this season. Earned a no-decision in his last start against William and Mary after he surrendered 11 earned runs on nine hits, two walks and three strikeouts in the Blue Hens’ 16-14 victory over the Tribe. He leads the UD starting staff with a 3.91 ERA (22 ER/50.2 IP) and ranks in the CAA top 10 with 50.2 innings pitched. In Crispell’s seven starts this year, the Blue Hens have posted a 6-1 record.
VCU – Ryan Farrar, Jr., LHP [3-3, 3.31 ERA (19 ER/51.2 IP), 43 SO]
Farrar was handed a tough-luck loss to George Mason in his last start for VCU. The lefty tossed eight innings on the mound and held the Patriots to two earned runs on five hits, two walks and eight strikeouts in April 7th’s 2-0 loss. The junior left-hander has a CAA Top 10 ERA at 3.31 (19 ER/51.2 IP).
Game Three – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. (Live Stats)
UD – Chad Kuhl, So., RHP [1-4, 5.06 ERA (28 ER/42.2 IP), 41 SO]
Kuhl takes the ball for the ninth time this the season after he received a no-decision in UD’s 7-6 victory over W&M on April 8. The right-hander tossed six innings on the mound and yielded six earned runs on nine hits, three walks and nine strikeouts. In five CAA starts, Kuhl has averaged 8.64 (29 SO/30.2 IP) strikeouts per nine innings and tallied the Blue Hens only 10-strikeout game (March 18 vs. UNCW). The right-hander has reached the sixth inning in every one of his CAA starts.
VCU – Heath Dwyer, Fr., LHP [3-3, 3.66 ERA (16 ER/39.1 IP), 28 SO]
Dwyer enters this CAA weekend series after he lost to George Mason in his last start Sunday, April 8. The righty allowed four earned runs on four hits, two walks and four strikeouts in five innings against the Patriots. The freshman has held the opposition to a .213 opponent batting average, which puts him third in the association.
Saturday’s baseball game is part of Blue Hens Fandemonium presented by Dunkin' Donuts. The Fan Zone will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will feature autographs from members of your favorite 2012 CAA Champion Blue Hens Women's Basketball team from 11 to 11:30 a.m. In addition to the Blue Hens Football team will also be available for autographs after the completion of their scrimmage. Other Fan Zone activities include live music, food, giveaways, pony rides, interactive skill games with UD Club Sport teams, mini-golf instruction from Blue Hens Women's Golf, inflatables, face painting, games and fun for all ages! Fandemonium also includes UD sporting events such as the football scrimmage, field hockey spring competition, men's baseball vs. VCU game, track & field meet, and men's lacrosse vs. St. Joseph's game. Parking and admission for the events including the Fan Zone are FREE, with the exception of the men's lacrosse game.
One important note, the parking lots adjacent to Bob Hannah Stadium will be closed to all vehicles as a result of Blue Hens Fandemonium. Free parking will be available behind the Bob Carpenter Center and in front of Delaware Stadium and the Delaware Field House. Please plan accordingly.