NEW CASTLE, Del. - - A 16-hit effort in game two softened a late game collapse in the opener as the Wildcats split the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division doubleheader on Friday at Wilson Field, winning the regular season series, 3-1.
The Wildcats (15-13, 12-4 CACC) dropped the opener, 15-5, before coming back and defeating the Griffins (12-14, 8-8 CACC), 13-0, to earn the split.
The Wildcats battled back to tie the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the seventh in the opener, but the Griffins responded with a 10-run top of the eighth to claim game one.
After the Griffins took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, the Wildcats took the lead in the home half with three run on three hits.
With runners on the corners, Kendall Small hit a double down the left field line to put the Wildcats on the board, 1-1. Frank Nigro followed with a single into center field, plating both Max Carney and Small for the 3-1 lead.
But the Griffins responded with a solo homer and a two-run shot in the fourth, taking a 5-3 lead. Nick Macey started the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff single and two batters later Brooks Ryan brought him in from second to bring the Wildcats to within 5-4.
Freshman Matt Danz tamed the Griffins for the next three innings, retiring 11 straight to hold the Griffins score at five. The Wildcats were able to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. Brooks Ryan started the frame with a leadoff single and two batters later Max Carney put runners on the corners with only one out. Kendall Small tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left, but that's all the Wildcats would get, keeping the score at 5-5.
The Griffins retaliated in a big way in the top of the eighth, ending the 11-batter draught with a double to right to start the eighth. Matthew Owens hit a three-run homer for his second of the game and Alec Craig added a grand slam for his second home run of the game. When all was said and done, the Griffins led 15-5.
The Wildcats responded in a big way in the nightcap, putting up multiple runs in three innings, including an eight-run fourth inning to put the game away.
The scoring started with a three run first inning, as Max Carney lined a ball back through the box and off the pitchers glove to score Brooks Ryan. Frank Nigro hit a sacrifice fly before Nick Macey capped the scoring with a single into left for the quick 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats quickly gained control of the game in the bottom of the second, as Max Carney brought in another run with a sacrifice fly before Christian Adorno scored on a passed ball for the 5-0 lead.
It was an eight-run fourth that earned the CACC split for the Wildcats, as Carney started the scoring with an RBI single to left. Kendall Small hit an RBI single to center before Dakota Graham was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in another run. Nick Macey blasted a two-run ground rule double to left center, having the ball to bounce over the wall, forcing a runner back to third. Matt Frost followed suit with a two-run triple to right center before Brooks Ryan capped the scoring with a single through the right side for the 13-0 lead.
Nick Grant dominated in five innings of work, striking out two while only allowing one hit and two walks to improve to 2-1. He worked quick and importantly picked up zeroes after the Wildcats put runs on the board. Tyler Campbell tossed a scoreless sixth before Noah Latshaw struck out a pair in the seventh to round out the victory.
Brooks Ryan went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Matt Frost batted 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI. Nick Macey finished with three RBI while Max Carney batted 2-for-3 with three RBI. Small also added a 2-for-3 game, leading the Wildcats to 16 hits.
The Wildcats have little rest before they return to action, as they take to the road on Saturday to play Concordia. The first pitch of the CACC cross divisional contest is slated for 12:00 p.m.