SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - - Three late runs allowed Shippensburg to pull away from the Wilmington University baseball team, 7-1, on Thursday afternoon at Fairchild Field in its first game above the Mason-Dixon Line in 2018.
A three-run second inning put the home team Raiders (7-7) ahead, but it was a three-run eighth inning that put the game out of reach for the Wildcats (3-9). The loss is the seventh straight for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first inning, as Kendal Small walked and Max Carney hit an infield single. Nick Grant worked a walk to fill the bases, but the Raiders picked up a ground out to second to end the threat.
The Raiders took advantage in the bottom of the first, as they capitalized with two runners on and two outs. A single into left scored the runner from second for the quick 1-0 lead.
Shippensburg widened the margin in the bottom of the second, as Jack Goertzen led off the home half with a solo shot to right center. The next batter doubled to keep the pressure on starter Ryan Bradigan, and the Raiders took a 4-0 lead with a two-run shot to left two batters later.
Bradigan settled in from there, setting the Raiders down in order in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, totaling 14 consecutive outs. But the offense only produced one run through that span for Bradigan, and it came off the bat of Frank Nigro in the top of the fifth inning. Leading off the frame, Nigro hit his first career home run, blasting one to left to put the Wildcats on the board, 4-1.
The Raiders snapped their out streak at 16 with a two-out single to right in the seventh off reliever Matt Frost, and then widened the margin even more in the eighth. The first four batters reached in the eighth for the Raiders, all going for hits with a double, an RBI single, an RBI double, and an RBI double for the 7-1 lead.
Nick Grant led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a walk while Nigro picked up the lone RBI with his solo homer in a 1-for-4 day. Bradigan finished with six innings pitched, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out four batters.
Ship starter Andy Crum went eight innings in the win while allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts.
The Wildcats look to snap their seven-game losing streak with their home and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference opener on Saturday afternoon. They will host Post in a conference doubleheader at Wilson Field starting at 12:00 p.m.