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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - - The Wilmington University softball team brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, but dropped its opening of the 2017 NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament, 5-3, to top seed and host Adelphi on Thursday afternoon at Ficke Field.
A four-run inning put the No. 8 seed Wildcats (34-20) behind the eight ball on Thursday, as No. 1 Adelphi jumped ahead 4-0 after the fourth inning. But the Wildcats battled back to score three runs in the sixth and had the tying run at the plate in the seventh before the Panthers earned the victory.
Northeast 10 Player of the Year Brenna Martini put the Panthers on the board with a solo shot to start the fourth. She worked the count full before blasting her 16th homer of the season to left field. Three doubles and an error later in the same inning, the Panthers had a 4-0 lead.
Back-to-back singles by Becca Stanley and Rosa'Lynn Burton started the top of the sixth for the Wildcats. Jazmeen Llamas put the pressure on Martini at third with a ground, forcing a bad throw that got away and allowed the Wildcats on the board. Kaitlyn Slater squeezed in another run before Colby Wyatt brought the Wildcats to within 4-3 with a RBI groundout to second. Meghan Brown singled to try and start a two-out rally again, but the Panthers were able to keep the lead by ending the frame.
The Panthers tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Wildcats one final opportunity in the top of the seventh.
Whitney DeMora lead off the inning by working a walk, bringing up the tying run to the plate with three opportunities. But Adelphi pitcher Lindsay Mapes induced a grounder and picked up back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning and the game, 5-3.
Brown led the Wildcats with two hits, going 2-for-3 for the day. Burton, Llamas, and Stanley picked up the other three hits for the Wildcats.
Caitlyn Whiteside was saddled with the loss, going 2.1 innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. Brooklyn Lachette came on and tossed the final 2.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits.
Fifth seeded Mercy defeated fourth seeded New Haven in the other game at Ficke Field on Thursday, 3-1. The Wildcats will now play New Haven in an elimination game on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The winner advances to play immediately afterwards.