HARRISONBURG, Va. (May 23, 2012) - Pinch-runner Dan Gatto scored all the way from first on a throwing error after a sacrifice bunt to give third-seeded Delaware an 8-7 come-from-behind victory in 12 innings over #6 Towson in the second game of the Virginia 529 CAA Baseball Championship on Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Blue Hens (28-25) advance to face #2 Hofstra at 5 p.m. on Thursday, while the Tigers (26-30) will take on #4 George Mason in an elimination game at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning.
Junior closer Devon Pearson (5-1) picked up the victory for UD after allowing just one hit and no runs over the final 5.1 innings and striking out eight. The Hens also got 3.2 shutout innings from reliever Eric Buckland as they were able to rally from a 7-1 deficit. Senior closer Tyler Austin (2-5) was the hard-luck loser for Towson after giving just one earned run over 4.0 innings and striking out nine.
First baseman Jimmy Yezzo finished 3-for-5 with two RBI's for Delaware, while second baseman DJ Long was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI's. Towson third baseman Zach Fisher went 3-for-6 with a run scored and designated hitter Brandon Gonnella was 2-for-4 and scored twice.
With the score tied at 7-7 in the 12th, Yezzo led off with a single and Gatto replaced him as a pinch runner. Pitcher Eric Young came on to pinch hit and dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Tigers' catcher Andrew Parker tried to make a play at first, but his throw sailed down the right-field line and allowed Gatto to score the winning run.
Delaware fell behind 7-1 before cutting the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Joe Giacchino had a one-out single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Ty Warrington's base hit. Long followed with an RBI double to left-center and he scored on Yezzo's double to right to make it 7-4.
The Blue Hens added another run in the seventh. Ferdinand and Yezzo had consecutive one-out singles and an infield single by Tyler Powell brought home Ferdinand to close the margin to 7-5.
Delaware drew even in the eighth. Giacchino walked and Brock Niggebrugge singled to open the frame and both runners advanced on Warrington's sacrifice bunt. A passed ball allowed Giacchino to score and a sacrifice fly by Long brought Niggebrugge home with the tying run.
Both teams put a run on the board in the first. Towson's Brandon Gonnella singled to open the game and came around to score on a ground out by Kurt Wertz. Delaware responded with a leadoff double from Long, who eventually scored on Yezzo's sacrifice fly.
Towson regained the lead with a pair of runs in the third. Fisher had a one-out single to left and Wertz walked. Brendan Butler and Dominic Fratantuono followed with back-to-back RBI singles that gave the Tigers a 3-1 advantage.
The Tigers tacked on four more runs in the top of the fourth with four hits and the aid of a Blue Hens' error. Singles by Pat Fitzgerald and Ben Winter put runners on the corners and Hunter Bennett's well-placed bunt plated Fitzgerald. A bunt single by Gonnella loaded the bases for Fisher, whose single to right skipped past the fielder and allowed all three runners to score for a 7-1 Towson lead.