A day after learning of the NCAA East Regional Poll, the Wilmington University softball team head to regionally ranked No. 2 Adelphi on Thursday and proved their worth, taking game one, 10-0, before falling, 2-1, in extra innings at Janet L. Ficke Field.
The game one shutout was the 10th straight shutout for the Wildcats (23-12) and the 11th straight victory overall. But he shutout streak was snapped at 66.1 consecutive innings in game two as Adelphi (18-16) came from behind to earn the split with a walk-off win in the bottom of the eighth.
The win was the seventh straight decision for game one starter Chelsea Botsch, as she pitched her fifth straight complete game shutout. The senior needed to escape a few more jams than in games past however, including a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first with only one out. But Botsch bore down and induced a foul out and a strike out to end the inning.
The bats gave Botsch the lead in the top of the third, scoring a run on one hit. A leadoff walk put Taylor Rizzotte on base and she was standing on third with only one out. Cambria Ziemba singled into center field, giving the Wildcats the 1-0 lead.
After Botsch left two more Panthers on base in the bottom of the third, the Wildcats went to work offensively, scoring four runs on four hits to open a 5-0 lead. With the bases loaded and no outs, Ashley Bennett single into left field to produce two runs before an RBI groundout by Kelsey Doherty made it 4-0. Ziemba again singled with a runner on third, scoring Rice Fazio for the final run of the inning.
Botsch gave up a two-out hit in the fourth but left the runner on first to get the red-hot bats back up. The Wildcats put five more runs on the board in the fifth, bringing the eight-run rule into effect. Becca Stanley started the scoring with an RBI infield single before Michelle Panasiti brought two home by reaching on an error. Doherty singled to center for an RBI before Danielle Bradley brought in the final run by reaching on another Panther error.
Botsch set Adelphi down in order in the fifth to finish the game one win. Botsch improved to 11-5 with the five-inning run, striking out a pair while only giving up five hits.
Game two starter Brooke Lachette was cruising in the circle for the Wildcats as well until a two out double in the fifth ended the shutout streak but more importantly tied the game, 1-1.
Lachette was working with a 1-0 lead from her very first pitch as Doherty led off the game with a solo homer, her third of the season. But the Wildcats couldn't solve Panther game two starter Jasmine Ennabe the rest of the way.
Lachetter left single batters on in the second and fourth innings before getting into trouble again in the fifth. The sophomore struck out the first batter of the inning before the Panthers singled with one out. The runner stole second but Lachette picked up a strikeout for the second out of the inning, looking as though she'd get out of the jam. But the Panthers' Christina Palmenteri took a 2-2 pitch to left field, falling in for a double to score the tying run and snapping the streak at 66.1 straight innings.
The Wildcats went down in order in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, giving the Panthers a shot in extras. A lead off walk in the bottom of the eighth proved harmful as the runner was sacrificed to second before coming home a batter later with a single, ending the game, 2-1.
The Wildcats, ranked eighth in the initial NCAA East Region Poll, will have another shot to move up the rankings on Saturday as they host No. 1 Caldwell for a CACC doubleheader at Asbury Field on Senior Day. The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.