Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Danielle Bradley against Winona State.
CLERMONT, Fla. - - The Wilmington University softball team dropped a pair of games on Wednesday morning at the National Training Center, falling 8-3 to Kutztown and then 1-0 to No. 16 Winona State in eight innings on day three of their Florida Trip.
The Wildcats (3-9) needed to use four pitchers against Kutztown but found itself in a pitching duel in the nightcap against the 16th ranked team in the country. The big hit with runners in scoring position eluded the Wildcats in both games, however.
The team got off on the right foot against Kutztown, opening with three runs in the top of the first inning. With two outs and Taylor Rizzotte on third, Becca Stanley started the scoring with a single. Colby Wyatt followed with a double to score Stanley while Danielle Bradley finished with a single up the middle to score Wyatt from second.
Kutztown earned two back in the bottom of the first before scoring three more in the bottom of the third inning. A sacrifice fly and a two-out single added two more runs on the board for the Golden Bears in the fourth inning before they tallied their final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth.
The Wildcats' best opportunity came in the sixth inning, putting their first two runners on base. Now on second and third with one out, the Wildcat runners were unable to score as Kutztown induced a pair of groundouts.
Caitlyn Whiteside was saddled with the loss after coming on to finish out the first inning and pitching into the third inning. Bradley struck out a pair in the final two innings of play for the Wildcats.
Bradley came back into the circle for the Wildcats against No. 16 Winona State and spun a gem despite the outcome. She went all eight innings in the circle, striking out nine batters while only allowing five hits and three walks.
The offense had five hits against Winona State starter Alex Walker, but ended up leaving six runners on base throughout the contest.
Bradley stranded a leadoff triple in the top of the first and kept Winona State off the board in the second by stranding two more. The Wildcats had two runners on in the third inning with two outs, but Cambria Ziemba's liner was caught by a diving second baseman to keep the game scoreless.
The Wildcats had another chance in the fourth, but Bradley was gunned down at the plate trying to score from second on a Kaitlyn Slater single down the left field line. The team again had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but a foul out and a fielder's choice ended the threat for the Wildcats once again.
Bradley had to work out of a jam in the seventh inning, as the Warriors had a runner on second with no outs in the frame. But Bradley buckled down with a comebacker to the circle, a line out, and a strikeout to escape.
She nearly got out of the eighth inning unscathed as well, as the International Tiebreaker Rule came into effect. With a runner placed on second to start the inning, Bradley recorded a pair of strikeouts before giving up a two-out double to left center to put the Warriors on the board.
The Wildcat sacrifice their runner to third in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Sarah Coyne struck out and Ziemba lined out to center field to end the game.
The Wildcats have two final games in Florida on Thursday before heading back to the northeast. They will look to turn things around and leave Florida on a high note against Minot State and American International. First pitch against Minot State is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.