The Wilmington University baseball team saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end, but a Jon Castro two-run walk-off single gave the Wildcats a split against Dowling, 3-4 and 6-5, on Monday afternoon at Wilson Field.
In a matchup of regionally ranked teams, Dowling (11-4) scored a run in the top of the ninth to break a 3-3 score in the first game before the Wildcats (15-7) retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the ninth in game two to capture the 6-5 victory. Dowling is ranked fifth in the latest NCBWA East Regional Poll directly followed by the Wildcats in sixth.
Jesse Long singled up the middle in the bottom of the second inning in the first game, scoring Christian Adorno to tie the game 1-1. The Golden Lions took the lead again with two runs in the top of the fourth inning before the Wildcats tied the game with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Zaxh Rumford replaced starter Tyler Newton and pitched two scoreless innings before turning it over to Kyle Menchaca in the ninth. The Wildcats had an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the eight as Swirchak led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. But the Golden Lions induced a pop-up and a ground out to end the frame, keeping Swirchak at second base.
Dowling responded with a leadoff single in the ninth off Menchaca before the sophomore recorded back-to-back outs to keep the runner at first. But the Golden Lions collected back-to-back hits through the infield to score the go-ahead run, 4-3.
The Wildcats couldn't muster a comeback in the bottom half of the ninth, going down in order to have their nine-game winning streak snapped.
Newton went six strong innings, striking out three while allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits.
The Wildcats started fast in the night cap, getting in front 3-0 with single runs in the second, third, and fourth innings. Matt Lopes led off the second with a single and came around to score on the aide of an error to give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead. Mike Annone collected an infield single to score Adorno for the 2-0 lead before Swirchak walked with the bases loaded in the fourth to put the home team up 3-0.
Rob Gore breezed through the first four innings, putting all 12 batters down. He started the fifth with a pop up in the infield before giving up his first base runner on a single up the middle. The Golden Lions strung two more hits together to put the visitors on the board before another hit ended Gore's day and brought the Lions to within 3-2. A pair of errors kept the inning alive for the Golden Lions as they eventually took the lead with a four run inning.
The Wildcats had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, but the Wildcats could only score one run on an RBI groundout by Castro before a strikeout ended the frame with runners on second and third, sending the game into extras.
Pitching in his third inning of relief, closer Tyler Fries gave up three straight hits with one out in the top of the ninth. Mike Rizzitello hit a sac fly to deep right for the go-ahead run before Fries induced a ground out to end the inning.
The Wildcats went right to work in the bottom of the ninth as Swirchak started the inning with a single. Goines took the next pitch and doubled to the gap in right center to put runners on second and third with no outs before Kyle Fries was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Castro too a 3-1 pitch the other way, beating a diving first baseman in the hole to easily score Swirchak and Goines.
Samluk collected two hits in each game for the Wildcats while Swirchak added three hits on the day. Lopes went 2-for-3 in game two to lead three Wildcats with two hits.
Gore went 4.1 innings while striking out two but gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits. Peter Monahan pitched the final two-thirds of the fifth before Mike Torres tossed a scoreless sixth inning. Tyler Fries earned the win in three innings of work, striking out one while allowing one run on four hits.
The Wildcats are back in action on Tuesday afternoon as they host Queens in another nonconference contest at Wilson Field. The single nine-inning game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.