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WATERBURY, Conn. - - The Wilmington University baseball team will be playing for the 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship on Saturday, staving off elimination with an 11-4 victory over Post on Friday after falling in the winners bracket game, 6-1, to Felician in the opener at Municipal Stadium.
The Wildcats (32-19) will have another chance at Felician on Saturday and will have to beat the Golden Falcons twice to claim their seventh CACC Tournament Championship.
Game One vs. Felician:
The Wildcats jumped on top of the CACC South Division Regular Season Champions with a run in the top of the first, but the Golden Falcons (30-23) got to starter Sean Deely for a run in the third and two runs in the fourth to take the lead.
Deely left a runner on base in each of the first two innings before Felician broke through in the third. CACC Player of the Year came up with a two-out RBI single to knot the game, 1-1. An RBI groundout in the fourth put the Golden Falcons ahead, 2-1, before a two-out RBI single to left had Felician up, 3-1, after four complete.
The offense went down in order in the fifth and sixth innings, and Felician added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded, a walked forced in the first run before a liner off reliever Matt Frost gave Felician a 5-1 edge. Another two-out RBI single in the eighth capped the scoring for Felician, leading 6-1 while going to the ninth inning.
Felician starter Rob Naughton went back out for the ninth, going 1-2-3 for the complete game victory. He struck out seven while not allowing a walk to improve to 6-4 on the year.
Kendall Small went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Wildcats.
Game Two vs. Post:
The Wildcats again jumped up early on the Eagles with a run in the top of the first, but needed to comeback after falling behind in the early going.
Brooks Ryan gave the Wildcats a jolt with a leadoff home run that stayed just fair down the right field line.
Game-two starter Zach Rumford couldn't settle in through the first two innings, allowing two in the first and one more in the second as Post to fall behind 3-1.
The theme of the offense in order to stay alive was two-out hits, as Nick Grant tied the game, 3-3, with a one-out, two-run RBI triple in the third. Nick Macey took the Wildcats the lead with a two-out RBI ground out to second.
A two-out rally in the fifth started with the bases empty, as Nick Grant reached on an error. Nick Macey singled and Dakota Graham followed suit with an RBI single. Graham then stole second and Macey stole home on a first and third play, giving the Wildcats a 6-3 lead.
A five run ninth put the game away for the Wildcats, as Kendall Small laced a two-run single to left with one out. Nick Grant followed with an RBI triple before Dakota Graham kept the inning going with a two-out RBI single up the middle. Brett Nowell capped the scoring with another two-out RBI single to give the Wildcats an 11-4 lead.
Zach Rumford pushed through 6.1 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits, but the offense backed him up to give him the win and allow him to go to 7-3. Zach Frederick came in and induced a line drive double play to end the seventh and Justin Mears pitched two innings for his 11th save of the season.
The Wildcats will look to snap a six game losing skid dating back to last season to the Golden Falcons with the first game of the CACC Tournament Championship tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.