Batts Leads UNCW To CAA Title Game
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
HARRISONBURG, Va. - Mat Batts tossed a complete game and struck out a career-high 11 batters as UNCW advanced to the championship game of the Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championship with a 3-2 win over Delaware on Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Seahawks (37-20) will make the program's fifth appearance in the championship game and need just one win to claim the conference title and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The Blue Hens (29-26), meanwhile, will need to beat either VCU or Hofstra Friday night to reach the championship game.
Batts (6-4) allowed two runs on 10 hits, but walked just one and recorded his second double-digit strikeout game, topping his previous high of 10 against Northeastern earlier this season.
The Blue Hens jumped on the scoreboard first when Alex Maruri connected on his third round tripper of the season to leadoff the fourth inning. He finished with three hits on the game.
Batts and UD starter Chad Kuhl (5-5) locked up in a pitcher's duel through six innings as UD continued to hold onto that 1-0 lead.
In the seventh, the Seahawks broke through against Kuhl for a pair of unearned runs to take the lead. With one out and Drew Farber on first base, Corey Dick hit a ground ball to second, but the throw to get Farber was wide and both runners moved up to third and second, respectively. Michael Bass followed with a line drive off Kuhl that deflected to second for the out, but the tying run scored. Matt Campbell then singled through, the leftside to score Dick with the go-ahead run.
In the eighth, Hunter Ridge led off the inning with a blast to right, his fourth of the season, off UD reliever Stephen Richter. It was the first homer allowed by Richter this season and it gave UNCW a 3-1 lead.
Tyler Powell drew UD to within one, 3-2, with a two-out RBI single to center. But on the play, Andrew Cain cut down a runner going to third with a throw from center field to end the inning.
In the ninth, Batts allowed a one-out single, but a ground ball to first and a ground out to third with Campbell making a diving play and a strong throw to first ended the contest.
Tyler Molinaro and Ridge both had three hits for the Seahawks.
DJ Long added two hits for the Blue Hens. Kuhl went 6 2/3 innings, allowed five hits, walked two and struck out one.