Giacchino’s RBI Single Sparks Ninth-Inning Magic in Delaware Baseball’s 5-4 Victory Over Monmouth
March 2, 2013
NEWARK, Del. – Joe Giacchino’s walk-off RBI single down the right field line drove in Zach Lopes from second base as the University of Delaware baseball team used a little ninth-inning magic in a thrilling 5-4 victory over Monmouth University Saturday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.
Delaware (4-4) snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory as Monmouth dropped to 2-4 on the season. Monmouth took the first game of the three-game by a 7-3 score Friday afternoon. The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Lopes lined a lead-off single into left field and Brock Niggebrugge dropped a sacrifice bunt that put Lopes into scoring position. Giacchino (at right) pulled his single down the right field line deep enough for Lopes to score the game-winning run.
“That was a textbook get the runner on, move him over, and get him in with the winning run in the ninth inning,” said Delaware head coach Jim Sherman. “But we still aren’t sharp. I think we played better the first six games of the season than the last two.”
Blue Hen senior reliever Stephen Richter (1-0) earned his first win of the season after he tossed 1.2 hitless innings of relief with one walk and four strikeouts.
Richter entered the game with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning but closed out the inning by striking out Kyle Perry and Jake Gronsky. He then struck out two Monmouth batters in the ninth inning to earn the win.
“That was a great effort out of Richter,” Sherman added about his closer. “We don’t get the opportunity to win today’s game without him shutting Monmouth down.”
Delaware collected 10-plus hits for the second straight game as Lopes led UD with his first four-hit game as a Blue Hen. He has collected six hits in the first two games of the series.
“We are looking for more offense and Lopes definitely provided it,” Sherman said about his third baseman. “He has worked very hard, been patient over the first two weekends of the season, and now is capitalizing with this opportunity.”
Nick Ferdinand was a home run short of the cycle in his three-hit day while Jimmy Yezzo’s hitting streak remained intact and grew to 19 games as he hit a single in the fifth inning.
Reigning Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Week, TJ Hunt (1-1), suffered the loss for the Hawks as the right-hander surrendered two earned runs on five hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Gronsky and Jon Guilda led Monmouth as they tallied four of the Hawks’ six hits on the day with two hits apiece.
Delaware starter Dan Gatto received a no-decision after he allowed two earned runs on five hits, walked two, and struck out two in 4.1 innings of work. Matt Soren allowed two earned runs on one hit and had four strikeouts in three innings of relief before giving way to Richter.
Monmouth starter Dan Smith was handed a no-decision after the southpaw yielded three earned runs on seven hits and one walk.
The Blue Hens jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Giacchino drew a leadoff walk, stole second base, advanced to third on a fly out, and was driven in on Ferdinand’s RBI single.
In the top of the third inning, a lead-off walk to Monmouth’s Chris Perret was followed by a single up the middle by Jon Guida. With two runners on, a throwing error by Niggebrugge on a potential double-play ball hit by Owen Stewart left the bases loaded.
With the sacks packed, Dan Shea hit into a fielder’s choice, eliminating Stewart at second but scoring Perret from third base to tie the game at 1-1.
Perry lined a one-out double down the left field line in the top of the third inning, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on Gronsky’s RBI single up the middle that gave MU an early 2-1 advantage.
Delaware knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning. DJ Long collected a one-out double off the wall in right-center and reached third base on a fly out. Ferdinand hammered a RBI triple to the center field fence that plated Long for the Hens’ second run of the ballgame.
The Hens tacked on an additional run in the bottom of the fifth inning after Yezzo’s two-out single to right field was followed by a third straight RBI hit by Ferdinand, a double down the left field line that scored Yezzo and gave UD a 3-2 lead.
Monmouth tied the game in the sixth inning without a hit. Lead-off hitter Danny Avella drew a table-setting walk to begin the frame and was replaced by pinch-runner Casey Saverio. UD reliever Soren would uncork three wild pitches over the next three batters that would allow Saverio to work his way around the bases and tie the score at 3-3.
Delaware regained the lead at 4-3 on a sacrifice fly by Niggebrugge in the sixth before the Hawks came back to tie the game again at 4-4 on a RBI double by Joe Bamford in the eighth inning. Monmouth then loaded the bases before Richter came in to shut the door.
Monmouth could manage just one base-runner in the top of the ninth off Richter, setting up Giacchino's winning hit in the bottom of the ninth for Delaware.
The third and final game of the three-game set will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Bob Hannah Stadium as Delaware's Eric Buckland (1-1, 4.50 ERA) will go up against Monmouth's Jonathan Shippee (0-1, 6.75).