Video Recap at Bottom of Release
WATERBURY, Conn. - - A thrilling extra inning affair forced the "if necessary" game and the Wilmington University baseball team captured the 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship with an 8-3 victor over Felician on Sunday afternoon at Municipal Stadium, hosted by Post University.
Needing to win two games to capture their seventh CACC Championship, the Wildcats (34-19) scored two runs in the top of the 10th and carry the momentum into the winner-take-all championship game. The Wildcats also won CACC Tournament Champions in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015.
With the wins, the Wildcats earn the CACC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament for the first time since they won the East Regional in 2015. The NCAA will announce the field Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Following the game two win, the CACC All-Tournament Team was announced and Brad Scull, Chuck Delagol, Kendall Small, Dakota Graham, and Nick Grant were all called to receive the award. Nick Grant was named the Tournament MVP.
Pitching was the story of game one, as neither team could come up with the big base hit with runners on base.
Chuck Delagol was dealing for the Wildcats, as he left a runner on in the first and two more in the second. The Wildcats threatened in the second, but Nick Grant was thrown out at the plate as Nick Macey singled into right field.
Felician threatened in the fourth, getting a leadoff single to start things off. A one out triple to left chased the runner all the way around, but a great relay from Grant to Christian Adorno to Nick Macey caught the runner at the plate.
The Wildcats put runners on first and second with no outs in the sixth, but Felician worked its way out of the jam.
Delagol got an inning ending double play in the seventh and worked around a leadoff error in the eighth before being greeted by his teammates outside the dugout. Justin Mears would take over for Delagol in the ninth and 10th innings.
Senior Christian Adorno led off the 10th with a single into right field. Now on third, Nick Grant was intentionally walked to bring up Brooks Ryan. Ryan, who struck out three times prior in the game, laced a two-strike, two-out, two-run triple to right field, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Chuck Delagol went eighth strong, striking out four while allowing four hits and two walks. Mears improved to 1-1 on the year with the win. Christian Adorno and Dakota Graham each finished with two hits in the game.
The Wildcats carried the momentum into the winner-take-all game, scoring twice in the top of the third and put the game away with a five-run sixth inning.
Strong starting pitching was again the key for the Wildcats, as Nick Grant came on and set the first 10 batters down to start the game. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.
More two out hits carried the Wildcats, as Kendall Small went the other way with two outs and runners on second and third in the top of the third. Grant then came out and put up another zero in the bottom half, swinging all the momentum in favor of the Wildcats.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, Kyle Fries worked a full count walk to force in the first run of the inning. Christian Adorno then launched a bases clearing double over the head of the right fielder, putting the Wildcats up 6-0. Max Carney then bunted a ball and Adorno never stopped from second base, scoring on the throw to first for the 7-0 lead.
Grant allowed a one-put double off the wall in right field in the bottom half, but induced a popup in the infield and a fly ball tracked down by Dakota Graham in center to end the inning scoreless.
Felician got on the board in the bottom of the seventh with a one out double to left and a two-out single to center to cut the deficit to 7-2 and end the afternoon for Nick Grant after seven strong innings.
Zach Frederick allowed a one-out RBI groundout in the eighth, but got out the jam without further damage before turning the ball over to Matt Frost for the final three outs. Frost induced a ground out, picked up a strikeout, and got another ground ball for the championship.
Grant improved to 5-1 on the year with the win, striking out six while allowing two runs on five hits and one walk. Kendall Small, Frank Nigro, and Kyle Fries had two hits each for the Wildcats with Adorno leading the way with three RBI.
The Wildcats await their selection into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament on Sunday night.