Tigers avoid sweep, pluck Blue Hens in final game of series
Towson ended its four-game losing streak, and avoided being swept by Colonial Athletic Association-rival Delaware, Sunday with a 19-14 victory at John B. Schuerholz Park.
After scoring only two runs in the previous two games against the Blue Hens (8-5, 2-1 CAA), the Tigers (7-6, 1-2 CAA) erupted for a season-high number of runs in a game that featured 33 total runs.
Head Coach Mike Gottlieb credited the weather along with the umpire’s strike zone as a key for the offensive outburst.
“The wind was blowing out, the ball was carrying, the umpire had a tight zone, they walked a lot of people, and we got some key hits,” he said.
The Blue Hens walked 15 Tigers, a CAA record.
Towson came back from a 7-4 deficit in the fourth inning against Delaware with a three-run inning to tie the game.
After giving up four more runs to Delaware in the top of the fifth inning, Towson responded by scoring four runs of its own.
Junior leftfielder Dominic Fratantuono started the scoring by hitting an RBI single that sent in junior shortstop Hunter Bennett and advanced senior catcher Andrew Parker to third base.
Junior outfielder Kurt Wertz then hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Parker to score.
After sophomore first baseman Brendan Butler was walked, sophomore rightfielder Peter Bowles tied the game up with a triple to right center that scored both Butler and Fratantuono.
Senior relief pitcher Mike Ryan entered the game in the sixth and pitched a shutout inning before Towson took the lead for good by scoring five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Delaware walked three batters en route to Towson’s five run inning. Junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald, junior third baseman Mike Draper, Bennett, Parker and Butler all scored in the inning.
The Tigers would add three more runs in the seventh and eighth innings and Ryan closed out the game to secure the victory.
Parker, Bennett and Fratantuono all hit home runs for Towson. Parker led the team with five runs, while Draper and Bennett scored four times.
Draper, who has played in only a handful of games this season, was inserted back into the starting lineup Saturday and leads the team with a .375 batting average. He scored four runs Sunday.
“He got a start the third game of the season, had a few hits and played a real good game defensively,” Gottlieb said of Draper. “He started yesterday and got a hit late. I thought, ‘He’s doing a few things good, let’s give him a shot.’ He did a good job.”
Parker, who was named the top defensive catcher in the CAA in a pre-season coaches’ poll for the past two years, leads Towson with four home runs.
When asked what has been working for Parker at the plate this season, Gottlieb said that he has been more selective at the plate.
“In the past he pulled the ball,” Gottlieb said. “He’s been able to use the whole field with more effectiveness. He’s been more selective at the plate, which is crucial. You can’t help but be a better hitter if you have a better grasp of the strike zone.”
Towson will continue its home stretch Tuesday and Wednesday when it hosts George Washington and UPenn. The first pitch for both games are slated for 3 p.m.