Seventh Inning Rally Leads Delaware Past Hofstra 12-9 as Blue Hens Advance To CAA Championship Game
May 25, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
HARRISONBURG, Va. – The University of Delaware baseball team erupted for 10 runs in the top of the seventh inning to erase a five-run deficit and went on to defeat Hofstra, 12-9, Friday night at JMU’s Veterans Memorial Park to advance to Saturday’s championship round of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
The Blue Hens will face top-seeded UNCW at 1 p.m., with the if-necessary game to immediately follow. Delaware needs to defeat the Seahawks twice to earn its first ever CAA Tournament title and secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“Our guys are excited to play tomorrow, but we have to figure out the arm situation,” said Head Coach Jim Sherman after the Blue Hens used 10 pitchers in the two games Delaware played today. “We will come out a give it all we can in the first game because if we can’t win the first game, there isn’t a second.”
Top seed UNCW (37-20) advanced to Saturday's championship game thanks to a 3-2 comeback win over Delaware earlier in the day Friday.
Delaware, which reached the 30-win mark for sixth time in 12 seasons for head coach Jim Sherman but for the first time since 2007, will play for the title for the first time since 2007 when the Hens fell to VCU in the championship game.
UD was down 7-2 in the seventh inning but responded with 10 runs after 15 men were sent to the plate. Delaware capitalized on a leadoff walk, three infield hits and a bases-loaded hit-batman while only hitting one extra-base knock during the pivotal frame.
“The game obviously was a one-inning game that we had 10 runs in the seventh inning and that was a difference maker,” Sherman remarked on his squad’s 15-batter, seventh inning.
Led by Jimmy Yezzo, who went 3-for-5 with one home run, four RBI and three runs scored, DJ Long, Tyler Powell and Joe Giacchino each had two hits apiece in the night cap. Nick Ferdnand joined Yezzo with three runs scored in the game.
Devon Pearson (6-1) tossed two shutout innings of relief with two hits and two walks that collected 14 hits in the victory.
Blue Hens reliever Jeff Murray earned his second save of the season when the southpaw pocketed the final two outs of the game, which included a strikeout to end the ballgame.
Dan Gatto could not complete the second inning, but the Blue Hen right-hander did receive a no-decision.
Hofstra (34-22), which had advanced to the evening game with a 4-2 victory over VCU Friday afternoon, was eliminated from the tournament with the loss. The Pride, who had swept Delaware in three games during the regular season, lost both their CAA Tournament games to the Hens after also falling 11-3 on Thursday.
The Pride did amass 10 hits in the loss, as Danny Poma, Dalton Rouleau, Matt Ford andMatt Reistetter each collected two hits in the defeat.
HU reliever Brett Schreiber (3-2) suffered the loss after he was charged with three earned runs on three hits while registering one out in Delaware’s 10-run seventh inning.
Pride starter Joe Burg yielded five earned runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings on the mound for a no-decision.
In the first game of the day for the Blue Hens, three runs in the final three innings handed Delaware a 3-2 loss to UNCW.
Delaware did collect 10 hits in the loss as Alex Maruri led the offense with a 3-for-4 game that included a solo home run in the fourth inning. Long was the only other UD bat with a multi-hit game.
Down by two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Ferdinand and Maruri each singled to jump-started the inning. Powell’s RBI single up the middle plated Ferdinand but, pinch runner Giacchino was thrown out advancing to third base ending the inning and the Blue Hens momentum.
Blue Hens starter Chad Kuhl (5-5) suffered the defeat after the sophomore surrendered two unearned runs on five hits and two walks with one strikeout in 6.2 innings on the mound.
UNCW (37-20) was led by their starter, Mat Batts (6-4), who earned a complete-game win for the Seahawks. The southpaw held UD to two earned runs on 10 hits, one walk and 11 strikeouts.
The Seahawks scored twice in the top of the seventh inning after Long’s throwing error on a double-play opportunity put runners in scoring position with one out. A RBI ground out by Corey Dick and Matt Campbell RBI single provided UNCW a 2-1 lead.
Hunter Ridge hammered a solo shot over the right-field wall in the top of the eighth inning for the eventual game-winning run.