MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - - The Wilmington University softball team began its 2017 campaign with a split of games on Friday, defeating Southern New Hampshire, 7-0, before falling to Kutztown, 3-1, to kick off the 2017 Snowbird Softball Freeze Out Tournament.
The bats wasted little time to warm up on Friday, collecting 19 hits in the two games, including seven extra base hits. The pitching was also firing on all cylinders, as Caitlyn Whiteside tossed a complete game shutout over the Penmen before Brooklyn Lachette tossed 4.1 strong innings against Kutztown, getting hurt by defensive errors.
Freshman Whitney DeMora introduced herself in a big way in the top of the first inning in the opener, crushing a solo shot to dead center field in her first collegiate at-bat to put the Wildcats ahead, 1-0. Becca Stanley led off the top of the second with a double before Kaitlyn Slater knocked her senior classmate in with a single for the 2-0 lead in the first two innings.
The big hits continued to come for the Wildcats, as Slater led off the top of the sixth inning with a solo homer to left for the 4-0 lead while a sac fly brought in another run in the inning to put the Wildcats ahead, 5-0. Stanley capped the runs for the Wildcats to a two-run blast of her own in the seventh inning, bringing in Colby Wyatt for the 7-0 lead. Whiteside took care of the rest for the shutout.
Whiteside allowed eight hits, but only one extra base hit, with only one walk. She struck out three batters in the win.
Stanley finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored while Slater went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Rosa'Lynn Burton and Danielle Bradley added doubles for their lone hits of the opener.
The defense let the Wildcats down in the nightcap, as they committed four errors in the game with all three third inning runs coming unearned.
Burton was the catalyst for the Wildcats' lone run, as they got off to another fast start with a first inning score. Burton led off the game with an infield single, moving to second on an error. She was soon standing on third with a stolen base. Jazmeen Llamas put the Wildcats on the board with an RBI single, but she was left stranded at third base as the Golden Bears escaped a bases loaded, no out jam with just the one run.
Lachette got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first, but couldn't escape danger in the third. An error and a single put two runners on with two outs, but the Golden Bears came up with a two-run single to move ahead, 2-1. Another error moved the runner to third base and Lachette got the ground ball she was looking. But another fielding error brought in the third run and the Wildcats could never recover.
The Wildcats had a chance in the top of the seventh, as Bradley led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch. Burton put the tying run on base with an infield single, but the Wildcats couldn't convert in falling, 3-1.
Burton went 3-for-4 from atop the Wildcats' lineup as Llamas picked up the lone RBI. DeMora had the lone extra base hit for the Wildcats with a double in the first inning.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday with games against Shippensburg and Lock Haven in continuing the 2017 Snowbird Softball Freeze Out Tournament.