Harbach Crushes Three Home Runs to Lead Wildcats to CACC Sweep over Chestnut Hill
Base: WU 12 - Chestnut Hill 0; WU 6 - Chestnut Hill 2
Thursday, April 5, 2012 - New Castle, DE
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Senior Joe Harbach went 4-for-8 with three home runs, a triple, 7 RBI's and a run scored
Sophomore Justin DeLong pitched eight innings with six strikeouts in game one
Senior Ryan Lally threw six innings with eight strikeouts for the game two win
The bats came alive for the Wilmington University baseball team as the Wildcats swept a doubleheader from Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader from Chestnut Hill College, 12-0 and 6-2, back by strong starting pitching and a three home run day for Joe Harbach on Thursday at Wilson Field.
The Wildcats (16-12, 5-6 CACC) earned their first conference sweep of the season, leaning on the arms of Justin DeLong and Ryan Lally and using big run innings to pick up the two wins. Chestnut Hill (15-13, 3-5 CACC) committed six errors and gave up 10 unearned runs in the two games.
Wilmington would pick up all the runs they would need in the bottom of the first inning of game one, as the Wildcats rallied with two outs and the bases empty to turn a simple fielding error into eight unearned runs.
Mike Godwin chopped one to shortstop with two outs, but the throw was low and the first baseman was unable to scoop it out of the dirt. With the bases loaded, Frank Samluk singled through the right side plating Godwin and Jordan Oncay was able to score as the right fielder misplayed the ball on the ground.
Adam Soley walked to reload the bases and Brandon Payne roped one back up the middle, scoring two more for the 4-0 lead. Jonathan Rodriguez stepped in and laced a triple to the warning track in the right of the centerfielder, plating two more for the 6-0 lead. BJ Janney took the very next pitch and sent it to the gap in left center for a double and came around to score as Harbach smacked another triple to the gap in right center for the innings final run. The Wildcats scored five runs on eight hits, all with two outs in the inning.
Again with two outs and the bases empty in the third, Janney walked on four pitches, and Harbach pulled a 1-0 pitch down the line in right that barely stayed fair for a two-run home run. It would be the first of three on the afternoon for Harbach.
This time leading off the sixth inning, Harbach welcomed a new Griffin reliever to a high lofted home run over the wall in right for his third home run of the year, increasing the Wildcats lead to 11-0. Godwin took the next pitch and doubled down to left center field and eventually scored on a Samluk sacrifice fly to cap the scoring at 12-0.
DeLong did not allow the Griffins any chance at a comeback, as he allowed three hits in eight innings. He didn’t allow a base runner until the third and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. He finished with six strikeouts on the afternoon. James Fallers came on and closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning.
Wilmington got a second game of strong pitching led by Lally’s eight strikeouts in six innings, allowing two unearned runs before handing it over to the bullpen. Lally allowed five of the six Chestnut Hill hits, but nothing more than a single all game.
It looked like the Wildcats were going to blow the game wide open again in the first, as Janney started the bottom of the inning with a single, stolen base and was standing on third after an error by the catcher in no time. Harbach picked up another RBI with a ground ball out, but the Wildcats put two more runners on in the inning. Oncay tripled and Matt Lope was hit by a pitch, but the ‘Cats could only get the one run.
Chestnut Hill took a brief lead with two runs in the fourth, as a two out, bases empty error hurt the home team this time. The Griffins scored twice on one hit, aided by two Wildcat errors to take a 2-1 lead.
But the Wildcats came back in their half of 4th, as they put their first two batters on. With runners on first and third, Janney and Payne executed a perfect squeeze bunt for the innings first run and to tie the game. Harbach stepped in and save his most impressive home run for last, as he launched a 2-2 pitch three-quarters of the way off the scoreboard in right field, scoring Rodriguez and reclaiming the lead for good, 4-2.
Wilmington tacked on two more insurance runs in the sixth, both unearned as the team did not record a hit in the inning but received help from two more errors in the field.
Jamie Treml came on and pitched a scoreless seventh before handing the ball over to Nick Marics for a perfect eighth inning. Oncay came in from right field to finish off the sweep and picked up two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning.
Harbach finished 4-for-8 on the afternoon, hitting three home runs, a triple, knocking in seven runs and scoring three more. Oncay added three hits in the doubleheader and Janney added three RBI’s.
DeLong improved to 4-2 on the year while Lally evened his record at 2-2.
The Wildcats will have a chance to work on their three-game winning streak this Saturday, as they welcome Post University for another CACC doubleheader. The team will honor its seven seniors in a post-game tailgate and honor former Wilmington University Athletic Director Frank Aiello pregame with a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The first game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m.