NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University softball team reached the 30-win plateau for the third straight season and fourth time over in its NCAA era with a nonconference split against Shippensburg, dropping the opener, 4-3, before winning the nightcap, 6-0, on Sunday afternoon at Asbury Field.
Sunday was also the second annual Military Appreciation Day celebration for the Wildcats (30-17), as pregame festivities highlighted the afternoon. The Christiana High School Junior ROTC Color Guard was on hand while Specialist Nathaniel Threatts threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Senior outfielder Meghan Brown sang the Star Spangled Banner to cap the pre-game festivities.
But the Wildcats fell behind early in the opener, as Shippensburg (25-18) jumped ahead 3-0 after the first two innings. Rosa'Lynn Burton was the catalyst once again for the offense, blasting her first collegiate home run to right center in the bottom of the fifth to get the Wildcats to within a single run, 3-2.
An unearned run with two outs in the top of the sixth loomed large for the Wildcats, as Kaitlyn Slater led off the bottom of the sixth with her ninth homer of the year, again cutting the deficit to 4-3. But the Wildcats left a runner on second in the sixth and had the tying run thrown out at second attempting to steal in the bottom of the seventh.
Burton, Jazmeen Llamas, and Slater all had two hits each for the Wildcats in the opener.
A five-run second inning sparked the Wildcats in the nightcap, but it was highlighted by yet another single season record being broken. Sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Whiteside spun her 11th complete game shutout of the year, breaking Chelsea Botsch's single season mark of 10 set in 2015. Whiteside is now 15-7 on the year with a mere 1.25 earned run average.
Llamas started the scoring with two outs and the bases loaded, hitting an RBI single to center. Alyssa Velasquez then worked a walk for the 2-0 lead before an error brought in two more runs for the Wildcats. Colby Wyatt capped the five-run inning with an RBI single to center.
That was more than enough for Whiteside, as she only gave up four hits and did not allow a walk in her complete game. She struck out two batters.
Wyatt capped the scoring for the Wildcats with her sixth home run of the year, blasting one to center in the bottom of the sixth. Wyatt and Slater now have 15 career home runs each, tied for second in the program's NCAA era.
Wyatt went 3-for-4 with two RBI in the nightcap while Burton added two more hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
The Wildcats head into their final week of the regular season and head to USciences on Wednesday for a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader in Philadelphia. The first pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m.