Local roundup: Spadafino shines as Blue Hens fall in CAA elimination game

The University of Delaware received one last gem from Nick Spadafino, but ultimately fell to Northeastern University 7-2 Friday afternoon in a Colonial Athletic Association elimination game at Veterans Park on the campus of James Madison.

Delaware (31-27), who faced its lone deficit of the championship, received six strong innings from Spadafino, a Dover High product, who allowed just two runs and four hits. The senior struck out four.

“I’m really happy for one of our captains, Nick Spadfino who dialed one up in his final start for us,” said UD coach Jim Sherman. “He had a tough start to the year the first two months, and was bumped from our weekend rotation. He came out today and threw like the old Spadafino. Giving us six innings and two runs. You really couldn’t have asked for a better career ending performance. I’m really proud of Nick.

The Blue Hens, managed just two runs in seven innings off Northeastern (34-18) starter Tyler Brown (8-3), who earned his second win over the Hens in eight days.

Senior Calvin Scott went 2-4 with two RBI in his last collegiate game, while classmate Austin Niggebrugge went 1-3 with a walk.

Northeastern struck first Friday, adding a run in the third inning, when Jake Farrell beat out a potential inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.

Down just 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth, Delaware was in position to tie the game with runners on first and second nobody out. Trying to get the go-ahead run in scoring position with one out, the Blue Hens tried to bunt, but Northeastern was able to get the lead runner at third base. A pair of flyouts ended the mini Delaware threat.

In the seventh, Northeastern padded their lead striking for four runs, to take a 5-0 lead.

After the teams traded scoreless innings in the bottom of the seventh and the top of the eighth, the Blue Hens tried to put a dent in the deficit, loading the bases with one out.

Scott jumped a first-pitch fastball, roping a single through the left side scoring a pair. Looking to add more, the Blue Hens bunted, to place runners at second and third. But a pop-up ended the frame.

Northeastern connected on a two-run homer in the ninth to take a 7-2 lead, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to advance in the tournament.

Delaware ends the season with 30-plus wins for the third team in four years and won multiple tournament games for the second consecutive season.

“This is a good core of seniors that are leaving this season,” Sherman said. “They had another really good run down here in the tournament. Overall, it was another good season as we won 31 games. It’s always good to reach that 30 win benchmark. We were a little bit more of a grind it out team this season than last. Last year we could really swing the bat well. That was a difference this season. This club was a bit similar to last season as they had an edge in the postseason. I thought we really pitched well all week long. All four games were well pitched. We really couldn’t ask for more out of the arms, we just didn’t have enough offense. Hopefully next year we’ll get some of those things rectified and swing the bats a bit better next year.”

College track and field

UD’s Bailey competes at NCAA Prelims: Ashley Bailey wrapped up her historic season at NCAA East Prelims on Friday after becoming just the third pole vaulter in program history to advance to that stage.

Bailey set school records in both the indoor and outdoor seasons, including clearing 13-2.5 earlier this spring to qualify for the postseason event. She finished 32nd at the prelims.

She won a total of 10 times in 2018, including the CAA title in the pole vault. It was the just the third conference title in the pole vault in school history (Carol Oliveri – 1999 America East champion, Casey Bennett, 2005 CAA champion).

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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