Blue Hens’ Ninth-Inning Rally Falls Short as Old Dominion Savages Final Game of Weekend Series With 5-3 Win Over Delaware
March 11, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NORFOLK, Va. -- The University of Delaware baseball team scored one run in the ninth and had the tying runners on base, but Old Dominion relief pitcher Dean Ali worked out of the jam as the Monarchs salvaged the final game of the teams’ Colonial Athletic Association weekend series with a 5-3 victory over the Blue Hens Sunday afternoon at the Bud Matheny Complex.
Delaware, which won the first two games of the set, 8-6 and 6-2, fell to 7-9 overall and 2-1 in the conference. Old Dominion, which snapped a four-game losing streak, earned its first conference victory of the season by improving to 4-10 overall and 1-2 in the CAA.
Ali picked up the win for the Monarchs after allowing one run on three hits in the final three innings, improving to 1-1 on the campaign. Blue Hen sophomore righthander Chad Kuhl (at right) gave up just two earned runs on five hits in 5.1 frames of work, while reliever Eric Buckland took the loss and fell to 0-1 after he was charged with two unearned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Delaware struck first during the top of the third inning when Cameron Travalini worked a two-out walk, stole second, and scored when D.J. Long reached on a throwing error by Monarchs third baseman Ty Yeses. Following a walk to Nick Ferdinand, Blue Hen first baseman Alex Maruri delivered an RBI single up the middle, chasing home Long to give UD a 2-0 cushion.
Old Dominion got on the board during the bottom of the fifth when Kenneth Belgrave led off with a single to center, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Drew Coker, and scored on a single up the middle by Brandon Shelton.
After the Monarchs loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on a single and two walks, Joey Burney crossed the plate when Buckland was called for a balk. However Buckland rebounded to get Belgrave to hit into a fielder’s choice and strike out Coker to keep the game knotted at 2-2.
But Old Dominion rallied again in the seventh, pushing across a pair of runs to take the lead for good. Shelton opened the frame with a single to right, and after Josh Wright laid down a bunt, Blue Hen third baseman Ryan Hartley’s throw was off the mark, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Devon Pearson then took over on the mound for UD but Chris Baker greeted him with a sacrifice fly to left to put the Monarchs on top 3-2, and following a groundout Wright scored on a wild pitch to make it a two-run game.
Old Dominion then tacked on an insurance run in the eighth as Belgrave singled to right with one out, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Coker, and came around to score when Shelton ripped a double to leftcenter.
However the Blue Hens, who mustered just two hits through the first eight innings, would piece together a final rally as singles by Jimmy Yezzo, Hartley and Brock Niggebrugge loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth. Alex Mottle then hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive home pinch runner Joe Giacchino and move Hartley to third, but Ali responded to strike out Travalini and Long to end the game.
The Blue Hens return to action on Friday when then open a three-game home conference series against UNCW with a 3 p.m. start at Bob Hannah Stadium.
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