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Press Release Written by Sports Information Graduate Intern MaryKate Rumbaugh
NEW CASTLE, Del. – With a 13-1 game one victory and a 6-5 walk-off win in the bottom of the eighth inning in game two, the Wilmington University baseball team earned the sweep against Jefferson Sunday afternoon for Senior Day at Wilson Field.
With the sweep and a Chestnut Hill loss, the Wildcats clinched the No. 2 seed in the South Division, which gives them a home playoff game Saturday afternoon in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Play-In Game
Wilmington (33-16, 21-11 CACC) would have an 8-0 lead through seven innings, which helped clinch the 13-1 victory over Jefferson in game one.
The Wildcats started out strong, as they scored three runs in the first inning, thanks to a single to left from Kendall Small and a two-run homerun to left field from Luke Johnson. In the bottom of the fourth inning, senior catcher Frank Nigro would hit his own two-run shot out to left field to give WIlmU a 5-0 lead. Johnson would lead off the bottom of the fifth with his second homerun of the game out to left field to take a 6-0 lead over the Rams. Max Carney would follow Johnson with a double to left center, before Matt Stepnoski advanced Carney over to third on a groundout. Dan Hyatt would then get in the mix and score Carney on a single to right for the seventh run of the ballgame.
Pitcher Brad Scull would go 6.0 IP, in just his second game back from injury, without giving up a run, and striking out two. He would get out of the fifth inning while leaving two runners on.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Wildcats tacked on five more runs to add to their 8-0 lead, starting on an RBI walk by Stepnoski. Dan Hyatt hit a blooper right behind the mound to score another run, before Mitchell Leslie recorded a two-run RBI single to right to give WilmU a 12-0 lead.
Senior Justin Mears would relieve Scull, who got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh. With only one out, Mears was able to get the final two batters on a strikeout and a lineout to the second baseman to end the inning.
Luke Johnson went 3-for-3 with two homeruns and four RBI, as Kendall Small and Dan Hyatt both went 3-for-5. Small finished with one RBI, as Hyatt finished with two. Frank Nigro went 2-for-4 with a two-run homerun, while Mitchell Leslie had two RBI. Seniors Max Carney, Matt Frost, and Dakota Graham all had a hit for the Wildcats.
With a tie ballgame in the bottom of the eighth inning, senior Dakota Graham hit a walk-off single to left center field to five WilmU the 6-5 win over Jefferson.
Throughout the first three innings, neither team would allow a hit, until the fourth inning as Jefferson got on the board first with three hits and three runs to take a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Matt Stepnoski would be the lead off for WilmU and make it a 3-1 ballgame with a solo homerun out to left field to start a five-hit, five-run inning. In his second at bat of the game, Luke Johnson would hit his third homerun of the day, a two-run shot to left to tie the game at 3-3. Brad Scull and Max Carney would get on base next to bring up Dan Hyatt, who's bunt single led to a throw down the right field line, allowing Scull to score. Carney would then score on a wild pitch from the Rams to give Wilmington a 5-3 lead heading into the sixth.
Down by one run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Jefferson singled through the left side to bring in the tying run. The Wildcats would start a rally in the bottom half of the inning, and load the bases, but would go down on strikes to force extra innings.
Max Carney would get things going in the bottom of the eighth on a bunt single. He advanced to second on Dan Hyatt's sacrifice bunt, before earning third on a wild pitch. Brett Nowell would keep the inning alive with a walk to bring up Dakota Graham, who hit the walk-off single to left center to give WilmU the 6-5 victory.
Noah Latshaw would go 4.0 IP, allowing three hits and three runs, while striking out five batters. Latshaw would get out of the fourth inning on a strikeout, leaving the bases loaded. Matt Frost would relieve Latshaw and get three straight outs after giving up a single. Kendall Small would pitch the sixth inning, allowing just one run, but would get a much-needed double play to end the inning, stranding the runner on third.
Zach Frederick would retire the side in the top of the eighth inning and earn the win to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Wilmington will play their final contest of the regular season on Tuesday when they face off with Millersville in a single-game nonconference matchup at Wilson Field. First pitch is slated for 3:00 p.m.