Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Kaitlyn Slater against Le Moyne.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - - The first two games of the 2016 season did not go as planned for the Wilmington University softball team, as they to Le Moyne, 9-3, and Shippensburg, 11-5, on Friday afternoon on the turf fields at Grand Park.
Junior Kaitlyn Slater carried the offense by going 5-for-8 on the day, hitting a triple in game one against Le Moyne. Senior Cambria Ziemba collected two hits in the opener and then went 1-for-4 against Shippensburg to extend her hitting streak to 19 straight games dating back to last season.
After allowing the game's first run in the top of the second against Le Moyne, the Wildcats responded in the home half with two runs to take their lone lead of the day, 2-1. Slater started the inning with her triple, splitting the gap in left center. Freshman Sarah Coyne brought in the tying run with a bunt single. A throwing error on a bunt by Shannon Brantley chased Coyne around the bases, giving the Wildcats the 2-1 lead after the first two innings.
Le Moyne quickly tied the game in the top of the third inning on a two-out rally, as a single to right center brought in a runner from first base. Another two-out rally in the top of the fourth inning gave the Dolphins the lead for good, as Le Moyne scored three runs on four hits, with two runs aided by an error.
A home run in the fifth stretched the lead to 7-2, before the Dolphins added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Ziemba doubled in a run with the last effort for the Wildcats, but Wilmington left the bases loaded to end the game.
Shippensburg struck fast in the nightcap, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. A two-run homer and a two-run triple bookended the inning, putting the Wildcats in a deep hole.
Wilmington responded in the top of the third, getting back into the game. With two outs and runners on second and third, Slater singled into right center to put the Wildcats on the board with two runs. Danielle Bradley singled before Becca Stanley doubled up the middle to score Slater and bring the Wildcats to within 6-3. Colby Wyatt followed with another single through the right side, bringing in Bradley and Stanley and cut the deficit to a single run, 6-5.
But the Wildcats couldn't get off the field in the bottom of the third, as the Red Raiders regain momentum with a run. The Wildcats could only gather two more hits the rest of the game as Shippensburg added a pair of runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to settle the final score.
Slater went 3-for-4 with a triple against Le Moyne before going 2-for-4 with two RBI against Shippensburg. Ziemba added a 2-for-4 game against Le Moyne while freshman Jazmeen Llamas batted 2-for-3 in her collegiate debut.
The Wildcats are back in action at Grand Park on Saturday, as they continue their season opening weekend in Myrtle Beach. The Wildcats will play Lock Haven and Merrimack on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.