CEDAR GROVE, N.J. - - The Wilmington University softball team had reigning Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Champions Caldwell in its sights, but ended with a split on the road, falling 3-2 in eight innings before holding on for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap at Panther Park.
The Wildcats (19-11, 7-3 CACC) gave up an eighth inning, walk-off double in the opener before holding off a furious Cougar (9-11, 5-1 CACC) rally in the bottom of the seventh in the nightcap to earn the split.
The Wildcats struck first in the opener, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Alyssa Velasquez led off the inning with a single down the left field line. Velasquez moved to second on a sacrifice and with two outs, Lexi Baughman brought her home with a double to left center. Lauren Lopez switched spots with Baughman with a double of her own to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
But the Cougars answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. With one out and two runners on, the Cougars picked up a two run single to right to tie the game.
Game one starter Makayla McCarthy left two runners on in the fifth and left a two-out walk at first in the seventh to end regulation.
McCarthy hit a two-out single in the top of the eight, but was left stranded as Baughman flied out.
Caldwell's All-American Marissa Monasseri led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center. With the runner on second after a wild pitch, a walk-off double gave the Cougars a 3-2 victory.
McCarthy fell to 8-7 on the year with the loss, allowing three runs on four hits, striking out four while allowing five walks.
A pitching duel followed in the nightcap through the first four innings as game two starter Caitlyn Whiteside worked her way out of jams in the third and fourth innings.
The Wildcats had two hits in the top of the first inning, but didn't get another hit until the fifth frame. That's when they broke out for five runs on five hits.
Jordyn Virden started it with a one out single before Jazmeen Llamas put runners on first and second with a bunt single. An error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases and Rosa'Lynn Burton brought in the first run with a single back up the middle. Alyssa Velasquez made it 2-0 with a single through the left side before Lacy Nealy cleared them all with a two-out double to center field.
Baughman started the sixth with a leadoff double and the Wildcats had runners on first and third with no outs as Virden singled into left field. Jazmeen Llamas made it three singles in a row, scoring Baughman to put the Wildcats up 6-0. But that is all the Wildcats would get in the inning, as they had a runner thrown out at the plate and left runners on second and third.
Whiteside set the Cougars down in order in the sixth, but ran into trouble in the seventh before securing the win.
A leadoff single reached third on a one-out double. An error allowed the field run to score before another double brought in two more runs to bring the score to 6-3. Now with the bases loaded and two outs, a single to center produced two more runs, putting the tying run on third. But Whiteside buckled down and induced a ground out to second to end the game, 6-5.
Rosa'Lynn Burton, Alyssa Velasquez, Jordyn Virden, and Jazmeen Llamas collected two hits each, with Lacy Nealy and Lexi Baughman hitting doubles. Whiteside allowed five runs (two earned) on eight hits to improve to 10-4 on the year.
The Wildcats will makeup a single game against Holy Family on Monday at Asbury Field, while scheduled doubleheader against West Chester has been moved to April 18. Monday's single game against Holy Family is scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. first pitch.