Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Shannon Brantley against Felician, taken by Joseph Craig.
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - - Another pair of strong pitching performances rounded out the 2016 nonconference schedule for the Wilmington University softball team, but the Wildcats needed a 6-0 game two victory to split the doubleheader, falling on a walk-off, 1-0, in the opener at Shippensburg on Monday.
An unearned run in the bottom of the seventh allowed the Red Raiders (16-23) to take the opener before the bats came alive in the nightcap for the Wildcats (27-19), collecting nine hits to back another strong outing in the circle.
Danielle Bradley struck out five while only allowing five hits and one walk in the opener, but the bats were held to three hits in the game, as they couldn't solve Shippensburg starter Taryn Wilson.
Brooklyn Lachette gave the Wildcats their first hit of the game with a one-out double to left center in the third, but she was left stranded at third base as Wilson picked up a key strikeout before getting Becca Stanley to line out to the center fielder. Lachette added a two-out single in the fifth before Colby Wyatt started the seventh with a leadoff single. But a sac bunt attempt was hit too hard and the force out was recorded at second to thwart any rally for the Wildcats.
A miscue in right field to start the bottom of the seventh allowed a lead off single to get to second base before a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third with just one out. Bradley earned the second out on a strikeout, but the Red Raiders scored the game-winner on a jam shot through the right side, just past the outstretched reach of Lachette at second.
The bats came alive early in the nightcap, as Shannon Brantley put the Wildcats on the board in the first inning with a two-out single up the middle, scoring Wyatt from third.
Freshman Caitlyn Whiteside set the Red Raiders down in order in both the first and second innings, bringing the offense back to the plate in the third. Wyatt started things with a one-out double before standing on third after a wild pitch. Lachette gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead with an RBI groundout.
The Red Raiders put their first runner on base in the third on a hit-by-pitch, but Whiteside picked up the final two outs to leave the runner at second. The offense continued to plug away in the fifth, as Kaitlyn Slater started the inning with a leadoff single. With runners on second and third, Lachette picked up another RBI with a sacrifice fly, hitting the ball deep enough to score Slater from third.
Whiteside finally allowed a hit in the bottom of the fifth, but quickly erased the Red Raiders in the inning with a grounder to short. After another 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, the offense broke the game open in the seventh.
Keara McCarthy put runners on first and second with one out with a single to center before Wyatt followed with another single up the middle, scoring Lexi Baughman from second. Now with two outs, Brantley poked one to right field for an RBI single before Stanley capped the scoring by beating out an infield single to short.
Shippensburg started the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff single, but couldn't get anything more off the freshman, as Whiteside induced a fly ball, a foul out, and an ground ball to end the game.
Brantley went 3-for-4 with two RBI in game two while McCarthy and Wyatt added two hits each. Whiteside moved to 11-5 on the season after striking out four and only allowing two hits.
After playing 12 games in eight days, including six in the past three days, the Wildcats are off the rest of the week. They return to action in their regular season finale, as they host Post in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader at Asbury Field on Saturday. Saturday is also Senior Day for Taylor Rizzotte and Cambria Ziemba, who will be honored prior to the first pitch scheduled at 12:00 p.m.