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Arms Strong On Opening Day, Blue Hens Drop Doubleheader To Char

302sports 178 Feb 18
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On the day that Major League pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, college baseball was a step ahead opening the 2019 season across the country.

Despite a solid day on the mound for the Blue Hens, the University of Delaware dropped two tough games to a talented Charlotte squad, 5-2 and 3-1, on a beautiful Friday afternoon in North Carolina.

"Opening Day is always an exciting day. Today was just an ok day for us. You never like to start the season with a doubleheader loss, but we saw some good things from our pitching staff all day long," head coachJim Sherman said. "We are just a bit behind out of the gate offensively. We even out hit them, so we definitely would have liked to have at least get a split on the day. Overall, we need to grow as we have a lot of inexperienced guys throughout the team. The next several weeks will be important for us to continually get better."

On the mound, the Blue Hens limited Charlotte to just nine hits and five earned in 16 innings of work. Redshirt juniorBrandon Walter (Hodgson) made his long awaited return to the mound, tossing 5.2 innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run, while punching out six on the day. FreshmanJoey Silan (Caravel)did a nice job in the first game of the doubleheader, holding the 49ers scoreless for three straight frames to keep the Blue Hens within striking distance for much of the contest.

Offensively,Zack Miller andChance DiFebbo both had three hits on the day, while Jordan Hutchins (Dover) andKevin Buglio both notched two hits on the afternoon. Hutchins added an RBI and run scored for the Blue Hens.

"I'm really happy with Brandon's performance tonight, he was outstanding. Freshman Joey Silan threw the ball really well in his first collegiate outing as well," Sherman added.

Game 1
The Blue Hens struck first with the first two runners getting on and Hutchins delivering with an RBI double. Two batters later, Miller ripped a single through the left side and Delaware held a 2-0 lead after the first half-inning of 2019.

Charlotte wouldn't go quietly, scoring twice in their half of the first to even the game at 2-2.

The 49ers would add another in the top of the third to grab a 3-2 lead, despite only having two hits through the first three frames.

Silan would come in out of the pen and keep Charlotte off the board, but the Blue Hens were unable to get anything going offensively.

Delaware tried to threaten in the top of the seventh, getting a man to second on a 49er error, but Charlotte was able to pitch out of the jam and leave two stranded to keep the 3-2 advantage.

The 49ers added two more in the home half of the seventh and the Blue Hens were unable to respond in the final two frames in the 5-2 defeat.

Game 2
After nearly a year and half away from the mound, Walter returned to the mound and threw a gem, keeping the Charlotte offense at bay for most of the night.

The 49ers would capitalize on a Blue Hen miscue in the bottom of the second to plate two and grab a 2-0 cushion.

Delaware would answer in the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles from DiFebbo and Buglio to open the frame. Two batters later,Joseph Carpenterlaced a single through the left side to plate DiFebbo and make it a 2-1 contest.

The pitchers would take over from there with both teams combining for just five hits in the final five innings as Charlotte pulled out the 3-1 victory in the nightcap.

Up Next
Delaware and Charlotte wrap up their three-game set with a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday afternoon.