WEST CHESTER, Pa. - - The Wilmington University softball team split a nonconference doubleheader against a tough opponent on Wednesday afternoon, winning the nightcap against No. 24 West Chester, 7-2, at the WCU Softball Field.
The Golden Rams (29-10) scored in the bottom of the seventh to win a pitcher's duel, 1-0, in the opener before the Wildcats (26-13) scored four runs in the top of the first to control the nightcap, 7-2.
West Chester was ranked number one in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Poll announced today while the Wildcats are ninth in the East.
An old fashioned pitching duel broke out in the opener as the Wildcats' Makayla McCarthy went toe to toe with the Golden Rams' All-American Amanda Houck.
The Wildcats' Rosa'Lynn Burton was left at second twice in the contest, first in the fourth inning as she started the frame with a leadoff bunt single. Jazmeen Llamas moved Burton up to second but Houck picked up a strikeout and a ground out to escape the threat.
Burton hit a two-out double in the top of the sixth, but Houck ended the inning with a strikeout.
On the other end, the Golden Rams started the bottom of the fourth with a single, but McCarthy induced a pop up, a fly ball, and picked up a strikeout to leave the runner at second. McCarthy again escape damage in the fifth, leaving two runners on base by getting a fly ball to end the inning.
McCarthy wasn't as fortunate in the bottom of the seventh, however, as a leadoff walk put the winning run on first. An attempt to get the runner at second was nullified so the home team had its first two runners on base. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner up before Bri Garber hit a walk-off single to left center for the 1-0 victory.
Rosa'Lynn Burton went 2-for-3 in the game as the only Wildcat with multiple hits. McCarthy fell to 11-8 on the year by allowing one run on six hits with five strikeouts.
The Wildcats started fast in game two, sending eight batters to the plate. With two outs and the bases empty, the Wildcats worked three straight walks to load the bases. Lexi Baughman stepped in and delivered a two-run double to left to open the scoring. Jordyn Virden followed with a single into center, plating the other two runners for a quick 4-0 lead.
West Chester cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third, using an error to score two runs with one out in the inning.
But game two starter Caitlyn Whiteside settled down and went 1-2-3 in the fourth and got a double play in the fifth to leave one runner on.
The Wildcats aided Whiteside with three more runs in the top of the sixth inning, taking command once more. Baughman and Virden started the frame with a single and double, respectively, before Alyssa Velasquez singled in Baughman.
An error off the bat of Jazmeen Llamas brought in another run before the Wildcats executed a first and third steal play, With Velasquez stealing home for the 7-2 lead.
West Chester left two on in the bottom of the sixth before Whiteside closed out the contest with the complete game by getting out of the seventh.
Baughman, Virden, and Velasquez all collected two hits in the nightcap with Baughman and Virden getting two RBI each. Whiteside improved to 14-5 on the year by giving up just two runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking two.
The Wildcats will make up a single game at Chestnut Hill on Friday. Game two of their doubleheader was rained out on Friday, March 30. The single game will start at 3:00 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pa.