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NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University softball team battled back three times against Adelphi in the First Round of the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament, but it was the fourth run that set Adelphi apart, winning the game, 4-3, in 10 innings at Asbury Field.
In the first ever NCAA Regional Tournament game on the campus of Wilmington University, the game needed to wait 40 more minutes, as a rain delay took place as soon as the Wildcats (39-14) and Panthers (32-8) were ready to take the field.
With the loss, the Wildcats drop to the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament and will square off against No. 7 New Haven on Friday at 12:30 p.m. New Haven lost to No. 2 LIU Post, 2-0, in the second game on Thursday.
After the rain delay, the Wildcats answered Panther's runs with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, seventh and ninth innings, but didn't have the magic going in the 10th after Adelphi scored again.
An error in the top of the first lead to Adelphi getting on the board, as Hannah Pineda singled in Nicoletta Cuccio for the early 1-0 lead.
But the Wildcats answered back in the bottom half, as Kiana Broderson-Jones hit a one-out triple. Now with runners on first and second, Annie Davila hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game, but Lauren Lopez was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play as well.
The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead in the fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs in the frame. But Lauren Lopez hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop who stepped on second to end the threat.
A two-out solo shot to left field put the Panthers ahead, 2-1, in the top of the sixth, and the Wildcats didn't answer until they were down to their last out in the seventh.
With two outs and Courtney Dellinger on first, Kiana Broderson-Jones worked a walk to bring up Lopez once again. This time, Lauren Lopez took one the other way and through the right side and Dellinger executed a perfect hook slide, sticking her hand on the plate before the tag was applied to tie the game, 2-2.
Both teams left a runner on in the eighth and Adelphi was able to take another lead in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo homer to center by Nicoletta Cuccio.
Courtney Dellinger walked to lead off the bottom half and moved up to second on a Rosa'Lynn Burton sacrifice bunt. Kiana Broderson-Jones then doubled to left center to chase Dellinger home to tie it once more, 3-3.
Makayla McCarthy came on to pitch in the top of the 10th inning and the first three Panthers she faced reached, including an RBI single back up the middle by Lauren O'Neill. McCarthy was then able to leave two runners on to end the inning.
The Wildcats couldn't muster up an answer in the bottom of the 10th, though, going down 1-2-3 to end the game, 4-3.
Kiana Broderson-Jones was the only Wildcats with more than one hit, going 2-for-2 with three walks. Burton, Lopez, Llamas, and Dellinger all had one hit for the Wildcats.
Starter Caitlyn Whiteside went nine innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits. She struck out a pair and gave up three walks. McCarthy fell to 18-6 on the year with the loss.