LEESBURG, Fla. - - The Wilmington University softball team scored first in each contest but dropped a doubleheader against Notre Dame College, 4-3 and 10-2 (5 inn.), at Sleepy Hollow Recreation Complex on Wednesday.
The Falcons (3-4) answered every Wilmington (5-5) run scoring inning with a score of their own, never allowing the Wildcats to get too far in front.
The first two batters reached base in the top of the first, standing on first and third with Lauren Lopez at the plate. The freshman bunted one in front of the plate for a single, scoring Rosa'Lynn Burton from third and setting up another first and third with no outs. Lopez stole second base, setting up what looked to be a big inning, but Kiana Broderson-Jones was gunned down at the plate trying to score on a fly ball by Makayla McCarthy, quickly surrendering two outs in the frame. Mirabella Klebart than grounded out to short to end the threat with only one run scored.
The Falcons answered in the bottom of the first inning, hitting a one-out solo shot to center to tie the game.
The Wildcats again took a lead in the top of the second as Lacy Nealy set the stage with a single up the middle to move Keara McCarthy to third. Alyssa Velazquez grounded one to second, but Notre Dame went to second to allow McCarthy to score for the 2-1 lead.
But the Falcons again answered, hitting a two-run, two-out single to left to grab a 3-2 lead. The Falcons had two out and the bases empty before mounting a threat in the inning.
The Wildcats stranded a runner in scoring position in the top of the sixth inning and the Falcons added a much needed insurance run in the bottom half. The Falcons started the inning with three straight singles to load the bases before Makayla McCarthy buckled down. She induced an infield fly to short, a sacrifice fly to center, and a strike out to only allow one run in the inning.
Wilmington threatened in the seventh as they loaded the bases with only one out. Broderson-Jones grounded one to first base to score Jazmeen Llamas from third, but recorded the second out. Notre Dame then closed the game out with an infield pop-up, 4-3.
Nealy was the only Wildcat with multiple hits while McCarthy struck out six without issuing a walk in the circle.
The Wildcats again jumped out in front early using two home runs in the bottom of the second.
Keara McCarthy led off the inning with her first career home run, keeping it fair down the left field line. Three batters later, Olivia Carbone hit her first home run as a Wildcat, lacing one to left center for the 2-0 lead.
But again, the Wildcats couldn't keep the Falcons off the scoreboard n the next half inning, as Notre Dame cut he deficit in half with a run in the top of the third. Halli Swiger led off the inning with a solo jack to center for the Falcons.
After the Wildcats went down in order in the bottom of the sixth, the Falcons took the game over in the top of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, the Falcons tied the game with a hit by pitch, and then took the lead with back-to-back singles. Another run came in on a Wildcat error before a sacrifice fly finished off a six-run inning and a 7-2 lead.
The Falcons put the run-rule into effect with three more runs in the top of the fifth inning, getting a two-out, two-run double to right center and an RBI single up the middle for the 10-2 lead.
The Wildcats didn't have an answer in the bottom of the fifth as the game ended.
Lauren Lopez collected the only other hit for the Wildcats in the nightcap.
The Wildcats are back in action on Thursday, returning to the National Training Center in Clermont for two more games. They play Cedarville at 11:30 a.m. before facing the defending NCAA Division II National Champions from Minnesota State Mankato at 4:30 p.m.