TOWSON, Md. – Senior righthander Tyler Austin pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to earn his third save of the year and lift the Tigers (17-16) to an 8-6 non-conference win over Delaware State University (18-14-1) at John B. Schuerholz Park on Wednesday afternoon.
For the Tigers, it was their fourth win in the last five games as they improved their record at Schuerholz Park to 10-3.
Austin, (below), who earned a save with two innings of relief in a win over Bucknell on Tuesday, battled control problems to nail down the win over the Hornets on W ednesday.
After picking up the final out of the eighth inning, he took the mound in the ninth with an 8-5 lead. However, he hit the first two batters that he faced in the ninth, senior centerfielder Troy Drummond and senior shortstop Scott Davis, putting the two runners on base with no outs. He picked up the first out of the inning when he retired sophomore third baseman Cameron Cecil on a pop-up to sophomore shortstop Hunter Bennett, a defensive replacement who had just entered the game.
With one out, junior first baseman Ryan Haas lined a single to right field, driving in Drummond to make it an 8-6 game. With the tying runs on base, sophomore catcher Eddie Sorondo was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out. However, Austin retired junior leftfielder J.P. Frey on a line drive to short rightfield as the bases remained loaded. On a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, junior designated hitter Peter Broehl lifted a fly ball to left centerfield that freshman Richie Blosser caught to end the threat.
Austin, who allowed one run on one hit in 1.1 innings of relief, earned the save as freshman righthander Nick Cioffi arned the first win of his college career. Cioffi pitched the first five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He left the game with a 6-2 lead.
Delaware State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Davis and Cecil hit back-to-back singles with one out, putting runners at first and third base. Haas put the Hornets ahead when he lined an RBI single to left, giving Delaware State a 1-0 advantage. With runners on first and second and one out, Cioffi pitched out of the inning by getting Sorondo to hit into an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Tigers came right back to tie the score. Freshman first baseman Brendan Butler led off with a single to left. With freshman shortstop Ryne Willard at bat, he stole second base. Butler reached third base when Willard grounded out. Butler scored the tying run when junior catcher Andrew Parker hit a popup to shallow rightfield. Sophomore second baseman D.J. Miller went back into short rightfield and made the catch but he slipped and fell, enabling Butler to tag up and score the tying run.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Tigers put together a two-out rally. Butler started the uprising with a single to right centerfield. When Willard reached on an error, the Tigers had two runners on base. A walk to Parker loaded the bases. Moments later, senior designated hitter Kurtis Voytell lined a ground rule double down the left field line, driving in two runs. Freshman rightfielder Peter Bowles capped off the uprising with a two-run single to right center, giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, sophomore second baseman Pat Fitzgerald tripled down the right line with one out. When freshman third baseman Mike Draper reached base on an error, Fitzgerald scored to give the Tigers a 6-1 advantage.
Cioffi, who shut out the Hornets for three straight innings, gave up a run on three hits in the fifth inning. Frey led off with a single and went to second base on a ground out. When senior rightfielder Tony Gatto singled to right, Frey scored to cut the deficit to 6-2. After Drummond walked, Davis reached base on an infield single to load the bases. But, Cioffi escaped the jam by retiring Cecil on a ground ball back to the mound.
Junior righthander Mike Volpe relieved Cioffi in the sixth inning and pitched two scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Tigers added to their lead with single runs in sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth inning, sophomore centerfielder Brandon Gonnella drew a leadoff walk. After he stole second base, Blosser singled to left, driving in Gonnella.
In the seventh, Voytell drew a two-out walk. After he stole second base, Bowles tripled to rightfield, scoring Voytell to give the Tigers a seemingly comfortable 8-2 lead.
However, junior righthander Sean Bertrand and junior lefthander Mike Ryan had major issues with their control, helping the Hornets get back in the game. Bertrand hit Cecil with a pitch to lead off the eighth. He was relieved by Ryan, who hit Haas with a pitch. When Ryan walked Sorondo, the Hornets had the bases loaded with no outs.
Junior righthander Mike Bronakoski relieved Ryan and promptly threw a wild pitch as Cecil scored to make it an 8-3 game. Frey finally made the first out of the inning as he hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Haas to make it an 8-4 contest. After Sorondo reached third base on a wild pitch, he scored on a sacrifice fly by Broehl, cutting the lead to 8-5. With two outs and nobody on base, Bronakoski issued a walk to Gatto, keeping the inning alive.
After the walk to Gatto, Austin was summoned from the bullpen to nail down the win. He retired Miller on a ground ball to first, ending the inning with the Tigers clinging to their 8-6 lead.
When he escaped the ninth inning jam, the Tigers owned an 8-6 and a season series sweep over the Hornets.
Both teams had nine hits in the game. However, the Tigers had three extra-base hits while the Hornets had nine singles. Delaware State batters drew four walks while five of them reached base when they were hit by a pitch.
Davis, Cecil, Haas and Frey led the Hornets with two hits each. Haas scored a run and had two RBI’s.
Bowles led the Tigers with two hits and three RBI’s while Blosser and Butler each had a pair of hits. Voytell had the Tigers’ only double while Fitzgerald and Bowles each tripled.
It marked the second game in a row that Bowles led the Tigers offensively. He was two-for-four with four RBI’s in a win over Bucknell on Tuesday. In the last two games, Bowles has gone four-for-eight with seven RBI’s.
The Tigers return to action on Friday night when they visit Elon University for the first game of a three-game weekend series.