Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Maxy Carney taken by Joseph Craig.
NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University baseball team left 14 runners on base en route to dropping a 5-3 decision to West Chester in the first round of the Bill Giles Invitational on Wednesday afternoon at Wilson Field.
The Wildcats (2-12) jumped out in front early on the Golden Rams (13-4) but a three run eighth inning provided all the support West Chester would be need for the comeback victory.
A two-out bases empty error opened the door for the Wildcats in the bottom of the first, as Kendall Small continued the rally with a single through the right side. Max Carney then pulled one down the right field line for a two-run triple. The Wildcats left a pair on base in the bottom of the first, starting a string of leaving at least one runner on base in every inning of the game.
Starter Jay Kluka sailed through the first three innings, picking up five strikeouts while only allowing one hit before turning it over to the bullpen.
West Chester got on the board with a run in the fourth, as Chuck Delagol loaded the bases with two outs. Nearly out of the jam, a wild pitch brought the first Golden Ram home.
The Wildcats put their leadoff runner on in the home half of the fourth, but back-to-back fly balls to the outfield ending the threat, including a running shoestring catch in center with a pair on. Delagol returned for the fifth, but the Golden Rams tied the game with a leadoff home run to right center by Drew Diehl.
Rocky Ferrier led off the sixth with a single but was again stranded on third as West Chester escaped. Dan Hyatt started the seventh with a single to right, but West Chester buckled down to record three straight outs to strand another runner at first.
The Golden Rams started the eighth inning with three straight singles off Matt Frost. Peter Monahan came on and induced a 4-6-3 double play, but allowed the go-ahead run to come home. Three straight walks forced in another run before Kyle Menchaca hit a batter to force in another run and put the Rams up 5-2.
With their last effort, Hyatt started the bottom of the ninth with a single to center. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases with one out. Now with two outs, Ferrier kept the Wildcats alive with an RBI single up the middle, but the Rams ended the game with a grounder to second.
Hyatt, Carne, and Ferrier led the Wildcats with two hits, as Carney's two RBI led the team. Frost was saddled with the loss, falling to 1-1 on the year.
The Wildcats remain home for three more games, as they host Queens in another nonconference game on Tuesday, March 29. The first pitch is slated for 3:00 p.m.