NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University softball team split a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader against Post for Senior Day on Saturday, winning the opener, 5-3, before dropping the nightcap, 3-1, at Asbury Field.
The Wildcats (33-15, 19-5 CACC) celebrated the career of their lone senior Keara McCarthy and team manager Kaley Smith prior to the start of the doubleheader. It was a freshman and two sophomores led the Wildcats in the opener, however, and then the Wildcats left the bases loaded with no out in the seventh in falling in the nightcap.
The younger McCarthy sister, Makayla McCarthy, led the Wildcats to the game one victory, tying her season high with 14 strikeouts in improving to 16-8 overall. She also went 1-for-3 with a two-run double at the plate in the opener.
Leadoff hitter Rosa'Lynn Burton started the scoring in the bottom of the third, as the Wildcats scored three runs after two outs and the bases empty. Burton lined a homer down the fight field line, her fourth of the year, for the 1-0 lead.
The Eagles (18-22, 16-8 CACC) quickly cut into the deficit in the top of the fourth, getting a two-run, two-out homer from Demi Rivera. The Wildcats had an answer in the bottom of the inning, as Burton responded with a two-out, RBI double to left field, plating Keara McCarthy to regain a 4-2 lead.
Another two-out homer gave Post life in the top of the fifth, this time a solo blast to bring the score to 4-3. But the Wildcats again answered in the bottom of the inning, as Lexi Buaghman reached on an error, allowing Velasquez to score and take a 5-3 lead.
Makayla McCarthy left a one-out single on first in the sixth and set the Eagles down in order in the seventh to secure the victory. She struck out 14 with only one walk, allowing three runs on five hits.
The Wildcats needed to fight from behind in the nightcap, as Post came out and scored twice in the second and one more in the third to take a quick, 3-0, lead.
A Wildcat did not reach base until the fourth inning, as Burton extended her hitting streak to 15-straight games with a leadoff single up the middle. The Wildcats left two runners on as the inning ended.
They were able to get on the board in the fifth, as Mirabella Klebart doubled to the gap in left center with two outs, chasing Lexi Baughman home, 3-1. But they left two more runners on base in the inning.
The Wildcats had a chance in the seventh, as Lexi Baughman and Keara McCarthy started the inning with singles before Annie Davila was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. But Klebart struck out, Burton fouled out, and Llamas grounded one back to the pitcher at the Eagles escaped the jam and won the game.
Game two starter Caitlyn Whiteside settled in after the third inning, but dropped to 16-7 on the year with the loss. She struck out a pair while allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. Five different Wildcats accounted for the team's five hits.
The Wildcats have earned at least the second best record in the CACC with the game one win. They have two games remaining before the CACC Tournament starts next Thursday. They will face Concordia on Monday at Asbury Field starting at 1:00 p.m.