Consistent pressure throughout the afternoon allowed the Wilmington University softball team to sweep No. 10 West Chester, 7-6 and 8-5, needing extra innings to take game one on Tuesday afternoon at Asbury Field in the team's home opener.
The sweep against the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II top-10 team was the highest ranked opponent the Wildcats (9-6) have defeated and the first sweep of a ranked opponent in the program's NCAA era, which dates back to the 2005 season.
The Wildcats needed a three run bottom of the sixth to tie the first game, 6-6, and force extra innings, winning with a walk-off single by Cambria Ziemba in the bottom of the eighth. The Wildcats scored at least one run in five of the eighth innings in game one.
After a four run bottom of the second inning in game two, the Wildcats scored a single run in each of the next four innings, holding off the Rams (10-6), 8-5. The Rams tallied five runs in the top of the sixth inning, but the Wildcats scored in five of their six at-bats in game two to come away with the sweep.
West Chester, who advanced to the NCAA Division II World Series out of the Atlantic Region last year, took control of the first game with a four run top of the fourth, taking a 5-1 lead.
But the Wildcats chipped away with single runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings before breaking out for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the contest.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Ziemba smacked a two-run triple to right center, bringing the Wildcats to within a single run, 6-5. Colby Wyatt came up clutch again, chasing Ziemba home with the tying run single to left.
On in relief since the fifth inning, Brooke Lachette shut the Rams down in the top of the seventh and eighth inning, stranding a runner at third in the eighth after the international tiebreaker started the inning with a runner on second.
The Wildcats capitalized with their runner on second in the bottom of the eighth, as Ziemba drove in Katrina Swank from third with one out for the game-winner.
Wilmington jumped out early on the Golden Rams in the nightcap, putting a four spot n the board in the bottom of the second inning. The scoring started with two outs in the inning as Michelle Panasiti scored on an error by the centerfielder. Kelsey Doherty doubled in a run before Ziemba knocked in two more with a single into left.
The Wildcats continued to tack insurance runs on with single runs in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. The run in the bottom of the sixth gave the Wildcats some breathing room after the Rams scored five runs on two hits, two errors, and four walks in the inning.
Lachette earned both wins for the Wildcats on Tuesday, pitching four innings of relief in game one before tossing the first four in game two. Lachette was needed to come back on in the sixth inning of game two before closing the door on the sweep.
Ziemba batted 6-for-9 with a triple, six RBI, and three runs scored in the doubleheader to lead the offense. Doherty batted 3-for-8 with a triple, two doubles, three runs, and an RBI on the day while Becca Stanley added 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI in both ends of the doubleheader.
The Wildcats have little time to bask in their victories over a top-10 team as they open their Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference schedule on Wednesday against Chestnut Hill. The Wildcats remain at Asbury Field for their CACC opener with the first pitch of game one scheduled for 2:30 p.m.