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NEW CASTLE, Del. - - A pair of third inning runs was all Zach Rumford and the Wilmington University baseball staff needed to get by Nyack, 2-0, in the 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Play-in game on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Field.
The win propels the Wildcats (30-18) to the double-elimination portion of the CACC Tournament, hosted by Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut starting on Thursday afternoon.
Zach Rumford escaped a two-man on, no out threat in the top of the third inning, allowing the offense to go to work in the bottom half.
The Warriors started the inning with a leadoff single before an error put two runners on with nobody out. Rumford buckled down and picked up a strikeout before Kyle Fries tracked a ball down in the right center field gap for the second out. With runners on the corners, Rumford came up with a big swinging strikeout to exit unscathed.
Nick Macey started the bottom of the inning with a single to center and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Grant. Macey was nearly caught at third on a bouncer to the shortstop, but an error put Wildcats on the corners with only one out. Christian Adorno bounced one to short, but the attempt to second base flew out of the shortstops hand, keeping everyone safe and scoring Macey from third for the 1-0 lead.
Two batters later with runners on the corners and two outs, Kendall Small pulled one to the right side, off the glove of a diving second baseman for an RBI single, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Rumford set nine straight Warriors down in the middle innings before running into trouble again in the seventh. With two out s and no one on, the Warriors came up with back-to-back singles to threaten once again. But Rumford bore down and notched his eighth strikeout of the day to get out of the inning.
Brad Scull relieved Rumford for the eighth inning and made quick work of the Warriors. He handed the ball over to Justin Mears who induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to earn his 10th save of the season.
Five different Wildcats collected one hit each with Adorno and Small collecting an RBI each. Frank Nigro and Nick Grant each hit a double in the game. Rumford improved to 6-3 on the year with the win, striking out eight while throwing seven scoreless innings and now allowing a walk.
Nyack's Jack Kelley went the distance for the Warriors, allowing two unearned runs on five hits. He struck out two and walked one in falling to 7-3 on the year.
The Wildcats play the winner of the Post/Goldey-Beacom play-in matchup on Thursday afternoon at either 12:00 or 3:00 p.m.