Delaware Remains Unbeaten, Defeats Mount St. Mary's, Seton Hall on First Day of Jacksonville Invitational
February 22, 2013
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• MSM-Delaware Boxscore / PDF
• SH-Delaware Boxscore / PDF
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Delaware softball team continued its late inning heroics on Friday as the Blue Hens remained unbeaten by knocking off Mount St. Mary’s, 5-4 in eight innings, and Seton Hall, 5-2, on the first day of the Jacksonville Invitational.
Delaware, which has won the last three games in its last at bat, improved to 6-0 on the season, the Blue Hens’ best start since UD opened its inaugural season in 1976 with 12 consecutive victories.
During the Blue Hens’ first game of the day, Delaware opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Michelle McKinnon and Marisa Newman executed a double steal, with McKinnon scoring from third on an errant throw by Mount catcher Alexa Tuck.
The Blue Hens added a pair of runs in the second as Lara Andrews (at right) singled to centerfield to drive home Hannah George, while Jessica Grisler then crossed the plate when McKinnon reached on an error by Mountaineers shortstop Holly Buckel. George then led off the fourth with an infield single, and one out later she scored when Andrews ripped an RBI double to center to make it a 4-0 game.
Delaware maintained its four-run cushion through six innings, as Taylor Curran and Chenxi Jiao combined to allow just three hits in that span. However the Mount (0-1) rallied in the seventh inning after having a runner on first with two outs. Following a walk and a single that loaded the bases, Buckel delivered a two-run single to leftfield that cut the Blue Hens’ lead in half. Liz Christiansen then followed with another single to left, driving home two more runs to knot the contest at 4-4.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth, when Mary O’Reilly was placed on second base due to the international tiebreaker rule being instituted. George then walked, and following a double steal, Grisler worked a base on balls to load the bases. Andrews then hit a groundball that was misplayed by Mountaineers shortstop Rachel Gavigan, allowing O’Reilly to score the winning run.
Andrews paced the Blue Hen attack by finishing with three hits and three RBI, while Shelby Jones added two hits including a triple. Jiao picked up her second win of the season after allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits with six strikeouts in 4.2 innings of relief, while starter Curran gave up just three hits in 3.1 scoreless frames.
Delaware’s second game of the day remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Seton Hall (2-3) pushed across a pair of runs.
Brittany Hammer singled to second base with one out, prompting Jiao to replace Blue Hen starter Kiersten Coffman in the circle for the Blue Hens. But Danielle DeStaso greeted Jiao with a single to rightfield, before Maria DeLuca laced a two-run double to leftcenter that gave the Pirates the lead.
Delaware answered right back in the top of the sixth as Andrews was hit by a pitch, McKinnon laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Amanda Stacevicz singled to shortstop to put runners on the corners. Tori Conrad then singled to right as Andrews scored the Blue Hens’ first run of the contest, although Stacevicz was thrown out at third on the play. Later in the frame Delaware has runners at first and third with two out, but Jones grounded out to Pirates pitcher Jordan Moses to end the inning.
However the Blue Hens would take control in the seventh inning by pushing across four runs after being down to their last out. O’Reilly led off the frame with a walk, and after a sacrifice bunt by George, she was pinch run for at second base by Gabby Klecko. Grisler then walked while Andrews struck out, before McKinnon delivered a single to leftfield to drive home Klecko with the tying run. Stacevicz then walked to load the bases, while Conrad followed by getting hit by a pitch to force home Grisler with the go-ahead run.
McKinnon then scored on a wild pitch while Jones capped the rally with an RBI single to left, driving home Stacevicz. Seton Hall pitcher Brooke Rickards, the fourth Pirates pitcher of the inning, finally got Klecko to pop out to third to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Coffman, who replaced Jiao following DeLuca’s two-run double, then allowed just a single during the bottom of the seventh to close out the victory. She was charged with one earned run on six hits in seven innings of work while improving to 2-0 on the young season.
Seven Blue Hens recorded a hit apiece for the Blue Hens, while Conrad knocked home a pair of runs.
Delaware returns to action on Saturday when the Blue Hens take on South Alabama at 11:45 a.m. and the host Dolphins at 4:15 p.m. on the second day of the tournament.
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