Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Shannon Brantley against Minnesota-Duluth.
CLERMONT, Fla. - - The Wilmington University softball team split a pair of games to open its week at the National Training Center, defeating Minnesota-Duluth, 6-5, before falling to LIU Post, 4-2, in the nightcap on Monday night.
The bats were alive in both games, as the Wildcats (3-5) collected seven hits in each game. The seven hits produced six runs in the first game against Minnesota-Duluth (4-6), while the Wildcats could only scratch across a pair of run on the seven hits against LIU Post (3-1).
The Wildcats needed to comeback in the early game, finding themselves down 2-0 after the first inning of play. Once the bats got rolling, the Wildcats tied the game in the third inning and then scored in each of the following three innings as well to build a big lead.
A two-out walk sparked the Wildcats in the third inning, as Zambria Ziemba followed a Taylor Rizzotte walk with a single. Jazmeen Llamas reached on a throwing error, allowing Rizzotte to come home from second. A first and third double steal brought Ziemba home to tie the game, 2-2.
Another walk started a rally in the fourth, as the Wildcats put their first two runners on in the inning. Now with two outs, freshman Caitlyn Whiteside smacked a two-run double to put WilmU on top, 4-2.
Becca Stanley extended the lead with an RBI triple in the fifth inning before Whiteside added another RBI with a single in the sixth inning.
The Bulldogs were finally able to get to starting pitcher Shannon Brantley again in the seventh, scoring three runs on four hits. With the tying run on third base, Brooklyn Lachette came on and struck out the final batter of the game to earn the save.
The Wildcats again fell behind early in the nightcap, giving LIU Post a two-spot in the top of the first inning. But, much like the first game, the Wildcats battled back.
With runners on second and third in the second inning, Whiteside brought in the Wildcats' first run of the game on an RBI groundout, but the Wildcats couldn't produce more.
Starting pitcher Danielle Bradley settled in and set the Pioneers down in order in the second, third and fourth frames. The pitcher then tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, singling on a bunt before an overthrow allowed Colby Wyatt to cross the plate.
But after retiring 10 straight, Bradley walked the leadoff batter in the top of the fifth which came back to haunt her. The Wildcat defense turned a double play, but the runner from third came home for the go-ahead score. Another two-out walk hurt Bradley again, as a two-out double chased the walk home from first in the inning.
The Wildcats threatened in the sixth, as a Shannon Brantley two-out single put runners on second and third. But the Pioneers buckled down and induced Whiteside to ground out to second to end the threat.
Ziemba led the Wildcats with three hits on the day, batting 2-for-4 against Minnesota-Duluth. Whiteside also went 2-for-3 against the Bulldogs with three RBI. Bradley batted 2-for-2 against LIU Post in the nightcap.
The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday as they face a pair of out-of-region opponents at the National Training Center. The team squares off against Upper Iowa at 1:00 p.m. before taking on Ashland at 5:00 p.m.