Senior pitcher Chelsea Botsch tossed her sixth straight complete game shutout as the Wilmington University softball team split with No. 21 Caldwell, 1-0 and 4-8, on Saturday afternoon at Asbury Field on Senior Day.
The Wildcats (24-13, 14-6 CACC) won their third game against a nationally ranked opponent this season as Botsch only allowed three hits and two walks in the first game before a five-run inning by the Cougars (21-10, 15-2 CACC) was the deciding factor in the nightcap for the split. Caldwell is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA East Regional Poll.
Botsch was also the cause of the Wildcats' lone run in the opener, singling up the middle in the third to start the frame. Now at second with two outs, Danielle Bradley triples to right center, bringing in Botsch for the 1-0 lead.
The senior pitcher didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning but left a runner on base in the second and third innings. The single came to lead off the top of the sixth, but Botsch left the runner stranded on second by inducing a pair of fly outs.
The Cougars put a rally together in the seventh, picking up a pair of two-out single to put the go-ahead run on first. But Botsch buckled down and picked up another infield fly out to end the game.
Caldwell came out fast in game two, scoring a run in the top of the first off game two starter Brooke Lachette. Miranda Pedersen tied the game with an RBI single down the left field line, scoring Cambria Ziemba in the bottom of the first. The Cougars gained the lead again in the second with a single run, proving to be the game-winning run.
The visitors separated themselves with five runs in the fourth, collecting three helps while also getting help from two Wilmington errors.
The Wildcats closed the gap with single runs in the fourth, sixth, and seventh innings, but the Cougars held them to only one run instead of a breakout inning. Kaitlyn Slater tripled and Michelle Panasiti doubled for a run in the fourth before Slater scored again on a Panasiti double in the sixth. Bradley singled home Kelsey Doherty for another run in the seventh, but the Cougars picked up two outs on the same play, gunning a runner down at second and at home to end the game.
Ziemba went 3-for-4 with a run in game two while Pedersen and Panasiti collected two hits each. Panasiti led the Wildcats with two RBI in the game.
Botsch improved to 12-5 on the year while striking out six batters in the opener. Lachette fell to 9-6 on the year with three innings in game two, giving up six runs (four earned) while striking out a pair. Shannon Brantley tossed the final four innings in game two, giving up two unearned runs on two hits.
The Wildcats head outside of the CACC for their next contest, as they host Dowling on Tuesday for their final nonconference matchup of the season. The doubleheader is set to begin at 3:00 p.m. at Asbury Field.