Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Brooklyn Lachette's home run in game two. Taken by Frank Stallworth.
NEW CASTLE, Del. - - In a matchup between two of the best pitching staffs in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, the Wilmington University softball team split a doubleheader with Concordia, dropping a pitching duel, 2-1, in nine innings before rallying for an 8-1 victory in the nightcap at Asbury Field on Thursday.
The Wildcats (24-16, 18-2 CACC) couldn't solve Concordia (14-9, 10-6 CACC) starting pitching Sarah Ross in the circle or at the plate in game one, but rebounded nicely and used the long ball to earn a split.
Coming into today's matchup, Concordia led the CACC with a 2.39 team ERA while the Wildcats were tied with Dominican in second with a 2.57 team ERA. It showed in the opener.
Ross and the Wildcats' starter Danielle Bradley were dealing in game one as Ross only allowed three hits and Bradley only allowed six hits in the game, three of which came off the bat of Ross.
The Wildcats wasted a leadoff single off the bat of Colby Wyatt in the second, stranding a pair of runners on in the inning. Ross wouldn't allow more than one runner on base in an inning the rest of the way.
The Clippers led off the top of the eighth with a single and had runners on first and second following a one out walk. Lexi Baughman did an excellent job of keeping a hard grounder in the infield for an infield hit to load the bases, and the Clippers got on the board first with a squeeze bunt.
Baughman started the bottom of the eighth off with a single and was standing on second with two outs. Taylor Rizzotte hit a hard grounder to second that snuck under the glove and into right field, allowing Baughman to tie the game, 1-1.
The Clippers scored again in the top of the ninth on another squeeze play, starting the inning with a runner on second with the international tie-breaker rule. The Wildcats put their runner on third with a sac in the bottom of the ninth, but Ross induced a pop up and a strike out to end the game.
The bats woke up in the nightcap for the Wildcats, as they put a three-spot on the board in the third. Three straight singles to start the inning produced the first run, as Baughman's bunt single beat the pitcher and rolled into no-man's land to allow Brooklyn Lachette to score from second. With runners on second and third, Bradley made it 2-0 with an RBI groundout before Colby Wyatt doubled off the wall in left to cap the scoring in the inning, 3-0.
Becca Stanley made it 4-0 with her fifth home run of the season, blasting the solo shot to left in the bottom of the fourth.
Lachette, the game two starter, stranded a leadoff doubled on second base in the fifth, but couldn't keep the Clippers off the board in the sixth as Ross launched her first home run of the season with two outs in the inning.
The big bats showed up again in the home half of the sixth for the Wildcats, as Stanley doubled in Keara McCarty who started the frame with a leadoff walk. Lachette took the next pitch and deposited it over the fence in right center for a three-run blast, her first of the season.
Lachette than capped the complete game victory by leaving a two-out walk in seventh, earning the split for the Wildcats. She struck out nine batters while only allowing six hits and one walk to even her season record at 6-6.
Rizzotte, Stanley, and Lachette each collected two hits in the nightcap with Stanley hitting a double and a homer. Bradley and Wyatt added doubles as well.
The Wildcats have a day off before a busy weekend, starting with a doubleheader against Felician on Saturday. The team will then head to Dominican on Sunday before wrapping up their road season at Shippensburg on Monday.
Saturday's doubleheader is also Military Appreciation Day at Asbury Field, as the Wildcats will honor active and retired military personal during pregame ceremonies. The first pitch is set for 12:00 p.m. against Felician.