SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - - Timely hitting led to a doubleheader sweep for the Wilmington University softball team, as it started its 2018 northern slate with 5-3 and 3-2 wins at Shippensburg on Friday afternoon at Robb Field.
The Raiders (9-7) struck first in the opener, as they capitalized on a leadoff double with a two-out single in the bottom of the third for the 1-0 lead.
It didn't take long for the Wildcats to strike back, as they answered in the top of the fourth inning. Mirabelle Klebart started the frame with a double to left before Annie Davila put runners on first and third with a one-out single. Lexi Baughman plated both runners and trotted around the bases herself with a three-run blast to left field.
The Wildcats added what proved to be much needed insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Olivia Carbone singled on a bunt to first base to score Alyssa Velasquez, but Rosa'Lynn Burton was caught off third for the second out of the inning. Lauren Lopez came up with a clutch, two-out single back up the middle to give the Wildcats a 5-1 lead.
The Raiders scored two in the home half of the seventh with a one-out, two-run single, but Whiteside buckled down to get back-to-back ground outs to end the game, stranding two runners.
Seventh different batters collected one hit each for the Wildcats, anchored by Baughman's three-run homer. Whiteside struck out four while allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk to improve to 5-2 on the year.
In the nightcap, it was a three-run second inning that all Makayla McCarthy needed for the 3-2 victory.
The first two batters of the second inning reached for the Wildcats, standing on second and third after an error. Now with one out, Alyssa Velasquez singled down the left field line for the game's first run. Three batters later with the bases loaded, Jazmeen Llamas dropped in a single in front of the center fielder and behind the infielders for two more runs and the 3-0 lead.
A solo homer in the bottom of the third put the Raiders on the board, but that was all the damage McCarthy gave up in the frame. The Raiders edged closer in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting another leadoff home run to center before McCarthy got the next three Raiders out. McCarthy then set the Raiders down in order in the bottom of the seventh to close out the victory.
The Wildcats only collected two hits in the nightcap, both coming in the three-run second inning. McCarthy struck out eight Raiders, allowing two runs on four hits with one walk to improve to 5-3 on the year.
The Wildcats have little time to rest on their six-game winning streak, as they host Bloomfield at Asbury Field on Saturday for their Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference and home opener. The first pitch of the doubleheader is set for 12:00 p.m.