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Courtesy: CAA/Cathy Kushner
Delaware's Jimmy Yezzo celebrates after his grand slam.

UD Holds Off UNCW, 11-9

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 05/26/2012
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (May 26, 2012) - First baseman Jimmy Yezzo went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI's as third-seeded Delaware stayed alive with an 11-9 victory over #1 UNCW in the Virginia 529 CAA Baseball Championship.

With the victory, the Hens (31-26) and the Seahawks (37-21) will square off again at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday for the CAA title.

Yezzo's grand slam was the big hit in a five-run sixth inning that put the Blue Hens ahead to stay. Designated hitter Alex Maruri was 3-for-5 with two RBI's and Nick Ferdinand was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI's.

UNCW was paced offensively by outfielder Thomas Pope, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI's, second baseman Michael Bass, who was 3-for-4 with two RBI's and outfielder Tyler Molinaro, who was 3-for-6 and drove in three.

Reliever Jeff Murray (1-1), one of six UD pitchers, got the win for the Hens. Chad Kuhl, who was the starting pitcher in Friday's 3-2 loss to UNCW, earned the save by stranding a pair of runners in scoring position in the ninth.

Seahawks' freshman starter Jordan Ramsey (4-3) suffered the loss after giving up eight hits and five runs over 4.0 innings.

UNCW got on the board in the bottom of the second. Pope was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a sacrifice and wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Bass.

Delaware drew even in the top of the third as Brock Niggebrugge hit a leadoff single, moved up on a sacrifice and came home on Ferdinand's RBI single to right. However, the Seahawks regained their advantage with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. A Molinaro single and an Andrew Cain double put two men in scoring position, and Pope brought them both in with a line drive that went off the glove of the shortstop and into left field.

The Blue Hens closed the gap to 3-2 in the fourth. Joe Giacchino singled with one out, advanced to third on a wild pitch and stolen base, and scored on another wild pitch.

Delaware strung together four straight hits and took its first lead of the game in the top of the fifth. DJ Long lined a leadoff double to the left-center gap and scored on a Ferdinand single. Back-to-back singles by Yezzo and Maruri plated Ferdinand and Yezzo scored on a Giacchino sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

UNCW loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth, but managed just one run. Cain was able to score on a fielder's choice, but the Hens used an inning-ending double play to escape the jam.

The Hens broke the game open with a five-run sixth. Two singles and a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with nobody out. A walk to Ferdinand forced in a run and Yezzo followed with a grand slam over the fence in right to put Delaware on top 10-4.

UNCW chipped away over the next two innings. In the sixth, Bass beat out an infield single, Matt Campbell doubled and Molinaro brought them both home with a bloop double down the left-field line. In the seventh, Pope opened the frame with a triple to right-center and Drew Farber followed with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 10-7. The Seahawks loaded the bases with three consecutive walks, but Hens' reliever Stephen Richter recorded a strikeout to escape further damage.

Delaware tacked on an insurance run in the eighth. Yezzo tripled to left-center and scored on a Maruri single.

UNCW nearly pulled off the comeback in the ninth. The Seahawks loaded the bases with three straight walks to start the frame. Bass' third infield single of the game made it 11-8 and UNCW added another run on a Molinaro groundout. With the tying runs in scoring position, Kuhl was able to strike out Cain to end the contest.