Blue Hens Battle Back to Post Third Straight Win, Down Fairfield 4-3 to Win Weekend Series
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware baseball team scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead on its way to a 4-3 victory over Fairfield University Sunday afternoon at windy Bob Hannah Stadium.
Nick Ferdinand’s home run to right field to lead off the eighth inning tied the game, and Chris Branigan followed with a triple that led to the game-winning run for the Blue Hens (5-6), who won their third straight and gave them the upper hand in the four-game weekend series.
The Hens have won three straight for the first time since last April when they defeated Saint Joseph's and took two from James Madison.
Ferdinand (at right) had three hits and two RBI for the Hens while freshman third baseman Ryan Hartley added two hits.
Larry Cornelia, Ryan Plourde and Billy Zolga all had three hits for the Stags (4-5).
Delaware took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on RBI hits by DJ Long and Ferdinand. The Hens missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead when they left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. Fairfield reliever EJ Ashworth worked out of the trouble by striking out Hartley to end the inning.
Plourde, the Stags' catcher, then knocked the first pitch of the seventh inning over the wall in right to cut the Delaware lead in half, 2-1.
After pinch hitter Rob LoPinto walked, he advanced to third on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Hens starter Devon Pearson (at left). Fairfield third baseman Mark Skrapits then flew out to centerfield to bring in LoPinto and tie the game at 2-2.
Fairfield took its first lead in the top of the eighth. With two on and two out, leftfielder Jack Giannini’s shallow pop up just eluded the grasp of Hens centerfielder Cameron Travalini, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
The Hens responded immediately in their half of the eighth when Ferdinand’s home run to right tied the game. Branigan followed with a triple and then scored the game-winning run on an error by the shortstop Cornelia off of a hard hit ball by Delaware first baseman Jimmy Yezzo.
Brandon Hinkle pitched two innings in relief to earn the win for the Hens, improving to 2-0. Mark Bordonaro took the loss for the Stags to fall to 1-1.
Pearson posted a solid effort on the mound for the Hens, going seven innings and allowing just one earned run on seven hits while striking out seven Stag batters.
The Blue Hens return to action on Tuesday when they travel to the University of Maryland to take on the Terrapins at 3 p.m.