Offensive resurgence lead Blue Hens to series win against Pride
SPORTS ASSIGNMENT EDITORr
Going into their weekend series with Hofstra, the Delaware baseball team was slumping. They had lost four of their last five games, were 3-5 in conference play and had struggled both offensively and defensively.
Needing a win, the Blue Hens got off to a promising start in the first game. After two scoreless innings, Delaware junior catcher Ty Warrington led off the third with a double to left.
Senior infielder E.J. Stoltzfus would hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Warrington and gave the Blue Hens the early lead
Later in the inning, junior infielder Zach Lopes extended the lead with an RBI single to left field.
Up 2-0, senior starting pitcher Dan Gatto held off the Hofstra offense until it launched a sixth-inning comeback.
TJ Ehrsam stole home as part of a perfectly executed double steal, cutting Delaware’s lead in half.
The Pride would tie the game at two, then took the lead just an inning later, when a couple of wild pitches from Gatto allowed Ryan Donovan to score. Though Gatto closed out the inning, Delaware’s early lead had vanished.
Down by just one run, the team failed to muster any offense in the remaining two innings, falling to the Pride 3-2.
“Dan Gatto has been phenomenal all year,” said junior outfielder Norm Donkin. “It stinks because we haven’t gotten the run support.”
With two more games to play against the Pride, Delaware quickly put the loss behind them.
“We came out the next few days with a chip on our shoulder knowing that we could dominate Hofstra and that we definitely could’ve played better that first game,” Donkin said.
The Blue Hens would turn the tide in the second game, and it would help them go on to claim the series.
The second game was scoreless through five, but the Delaware offense slowly came alive in the sixth, as Stoltzfus scored on a RBI single by Lopes.
The team continued to add to their lead in the seventh, after a groundout by Warrington scored freshman infielder Doug Trimble. Redshirt junior Joe Giacchino followed with a single that scored junior infielder Ryan Hartley to give the Blue Hens a 3-0 lead.
“After that first game, coach told us that we needed to give our pitching staff some support with our bats,” Giacchino said.
The team did just that. A three-run offensive outburst in the eighth sealed the victory. Redshirt junior outfielder Tyler Powell knocked in a run, and Warrington walked to put the Blue Hens up by five. After Trimble was hit by a pitch, Lopes scored to earn Delaware the 6-0 win.
The Blue Hens’ victory was aided on the mound by freshman lefty Kevin Milley, who earned his second win of the season, and junior righty Luke Alicknavitch recorded his fifth save.
Having evened the series at one, the Blue Hens went into the rubber match determined.
However, it was another slow start offensively, as the game was scoreless through three. Pitching in a tight game, Redshirt freshman righty Chad Martin allowed only seven hits over nine innings.
Delaware got Martin some run support in the fourth, thanks to a single by senior Jake Clark and a Hofstra error that scored Lopes. The Blue Hens went up 3-0 in the seventh, thanks to Stoltzfus, who hit an RBI double.
However, it was not until the ninth that Delaware sealed the game. Sparked by Donkin’s two run double, the Blue Hens scored six to close out the game.
Though he allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth, Martin closed out the 9-1 victory for the Blue Hens, earning his fourth win of the season.
Donkin said the pitching staff played a huge role.
“All of our pitchers really battled all weekend and gave us chances to win and on Saturday and Sunday we kind of pulled it all together and scored some runs for them,” Donkin said.
Delaware will take on Temple next at home on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Bob Hannah Stadium.
With 14 regular season games remaining, Donkin said the team will continue to improve.
“We’re a pretty good team and we know we’re a good team so I think we’ll be able to play better to finish out the year,” Donkin said.