A three run bottom of the eighth inning spoiled the Wilmington University 2015 season opener as St. Thomas (Fla.) came back to defeat the Wildcats, 6-5, on Tuesday night at Paul Mainieri Field.
The Wildcats (0-1) broke a 3-3 tie with two runs in the top of the eighth inning, but the Bobcats (12-5) scored three times to retake the lead. The Wildcats stranded a runner in scoring position in the top of the ninth, unable to scoring the tying run before the final out was recorded.
Tied 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning, senior Josh Swirchak started the inning off with his second hit of the ballgame. Senior Matt Lopes sacrificed Swirchak over before Tyler Hawthorne roped a single into centerfield, scoring Swirchak for the go-ahead run.
An error put runners on the corners with only one out before Jesse Long executed a squeeze play to add an insurance run, scoring pinch runner Tory Manfre from third.
But the Bobcats quickly came back in the bottom of the eighth inning, as a two-run triple by Cesar Ramirez tied the game with one out in the inning. Clean-up hitter Jerry Down stepped in and roped a doubled to the gap in right center, easily scoring Ramirez for the eventual game winning run.
Frank Samluk reached base on a throwing error from the Bobcats in the top of the ninth but was left stranded as Swirchak grounded out to end the ballgame.
The Wildcats started out on fire in their 2015 season premier, as Christian Adorno and Mike Annone hit back-to-back singles to lead off the game in the top of the first. Samluk picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice before Matt Lopes collected the fourth single of the inning to pick up the second RBI.
Three straight singles in the top of the sixth gave the Wildcats another run and tied the game at 3-3. Lopes, Hawthorne, and Sean Feeney hit consecutive singles with Feeney's bringing in Lopes to tie the match.
Hawthorne led the Wildcats by going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Tuesday night, while Swirchak, Lopes, and Feeney all added two hits each.
Ryan Douglas was saddled with the loss in giving up the three eighth inning runs while Alex Vierra earned the win for the Bobcats, improving to 2-1 overall. Chris Rodriguez picked up his fifth saves of the season.
The Wildcats continue their Florida trip with a game tomorrow night at Palm Beach Atlantic. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. in West Palm Beach.