UNCW Wins CAA Baseball Title
HARRISONBURG, Va. (May 26, 2012) - Top-seeded UNCW erased an early six-run deficit and scored twice in the ninth to earn a 10-8 victory over #3 Delaware and capture the Virginia 529 CAA Baseball Championship on Saturday evening at Veterans Memorial Park.
It was the third CAA championship, but first since 2006, for the Seahawks (38-21), who garnered the CAA's automatic bid to next week's NCAA Baseball Championship. Delaware, which beat UNCW 11-9 earlier on Saturday to force the deciding game, saw its season come to an end with a 31-27 mark.
With the score tied 8-8 in the ninth, UNCW's Hunter Ridge doubled down the right-field line and scored on a single by Thomas Pope. Drew Farber followed with a sacrifice bunt and Pope was able to advance to third on an errant throw. A Jake Koenig sacrifice fly plated Pope to make it 10-8.
Left-hander Kelly Secrest (5-2), who picked up the win with 2.1 innings of no-hit relief, retired the Blue Hens in order in the ninth to secure the victory. The Seahawks also got an excellent relief effort from sophomore Justin Livengood, who had thrown only four innings all season but contributed 2.1 shutout frames in the title game.
Delaware sent 11 men to the plate in the bottom of the first and jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. DJ Long and Nick Ferdinand opened the contest with back-to-back homers to left. Jimmy Yezzo singled, Alex Maruri doubled and a single by Joe Giacchino brought them both in for a 4-0 Hens' advantage. UD tacked on its final run of the inning when Ty Warrington's base hit brought home Giacchino.
The Hens added another run in the second. Yezzo, who set a CAA Tournament record for hits with 15, had a leadoff double and scored on a double by Tyler Powell.
UNCW cut the deficit in half in the third. Matt Campbell singled and Tyler Molinaro followed with a two-run homer to right. Andrew Cain and Ridge had consecutive singles and Pope's double brought home Cain to make it 6-3.
The Seahawks moved ahead in the fourth. Singles by Koenig and Corey Dick opened the inning and Michael Bass reached on an error that scored Koenig. Campbell's double plated Dick and a sacrifice fly by Molinaro brought Bass across to tie the contest at 6-6. A two-run homer to left by Cain gave UNCW its first lead of the game at 8-6.
Delaware pulled back even again in the bottom of the fifth. EJ Stoltzfus drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and a Ty Warrington single before scoring on a balk. Warrington later came across on Long's RBI single to tie the contest at 8-8.
UNCW had five players with multiple hits in the contest. Pope was 3-for-4 with two RBI's and Dick was also 3-for-4 and scored once.
Long finished 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI's for Delaware, while Yezzo and Warrington were each 2-for-5.
Yezzo was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after batting .517 (15-29) in the tournament with 10 runs and 11 RBI's. He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Long, Maruri and pitcher Eric Young.
Making the squad from UNCW were Campbell, Pope, Molinaro and starting pitchers Mat Batts and Tyler McSwain. Rounding out the team were VCU's Brent Mikionis, Towson's Zach Fisher and George Mason's Zack Helgeson.