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Four-Run Fourth Inning Looms Large as #21 Baseball Falls to NAIA #8 St. Thomas, 6-5

Copyright 2019; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Frank Nigro. Photo by Dan Lauletta. February 22, 2019 vs. Molloy at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Copyright 2019; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Frank Nigro. Photo by Dan Lauletta. February 22, 2019 vs. Molloy at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - - A four-run fourth inning was too much to overcome for the Wilmington University baseball team, as it dropped its first contest of the year, 6-5, to NAIA nationally ranked No. 8 St. Thomas (Fla.) on Sunday afternoon at Mainieri Field.

The No. 21 ranked Wildcats (5-1) scored first against the Bobcats (14-5), and led 2-0 before the home team struck for six runs in two innings to take a 6-2 lead. The Wildcats came back with one run each in the fifth, sixth, and ninth innings, but couldn't finish the comeback.

The Wildcats got on the board with a run in the top of the first, as Julian Kurych led off the game with a double to left center. Brooks Ryan reached on an error with two outs in the inning, allowing Kurych to come home for the 1-0 lead.

Brooks Ryan made it 2-0 in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Kendall Small who reached with a one-out single.

But the Bobcats tied the match in the bottom of the third, using a one-out error to start a rally. With two on, the Bobcats hit a two-run double to left, chasing both runners home to tie the game, 2-2.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, a hit-by-pitch forced in a Bobcat run before an error allowed two more runs to cross the plate. Another RBI single made it 6-2 Bobcats and it could have been worse but Dakota Graham threw out a runner at the plate to end the inning.

The Wildcats had second and third with no outs in the fifth, but only squeezed one run out of the frame on an RBI ground out by Eddie Nevins. The Wildcats again had runners on the corners with one out in sixth, but only one run came home on a Julian Kurych sacrifice fly, bringing the Wildcats to within 6-4.

Wilmington loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but they were left loaded as the Bobcats came up with a big strikeout.

Frank Nigro brought the Wildcats to within a single run in the top of the ninth, launching a solo homer to left with two outs in the inning. But the Bobcats secured the victory with a final strikeout to end the game, 6-5.

Nigro led the attack by going 3-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored while Max Carney batted 2-for-4 with a double. Brooks Ryan led the team with two RBI.

Dan Hyatt allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits in 3.2 innings pitched, taking the loss. Noah Latshaw struck out four batters in two scoreless innings and Zach Frederick struck out a pair in a scoreless eighth inning.

The Wildcats will look to get back to their winning ways on Monday when they head to Lynn University to take on the Fighting Knights starting at 2:30 p.m.