The Wilmington University baseball team closed out its Florida trip with a pair of losses to Merrimack, 4-2 and 8-3, on Sunday afternoon at Feinbloom Field on the campus of Barry University.
The clutch hit was missing from the Wildcats' (3-5) lineup as they collected eight hits in game one and 12 hits in the nightcap. Merrimack's (4-0) starting pitchers went six innings in game one and eight innings in game two to earn the sweep.
The Wildcats jumped ahead in the first game in the top of the sixth with a single run. Mike Annone led off with a double to left center before moving over to third on a Sam Goines' sacrifice bunt. Matt Lopes laid down a perfect squeeze bunt on the next pitch, bringing Annone home for the first run of the game.
In his first start of the season, Chris Lopez pitched six strong innings while only allowing four hits before turning it over to the bullpen. The Warriors were able to get to the bullpen however, scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh and twice more in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead.
The Wildcats threatened in the top of the ninth by loading the bases with only one out. Frank Samluk's sharp ground ball up the middle was snared by the shortstop who stepped on second for the second out of the inning, only allowing one run to score. Merrimack was able to get out of the jam with a grounder to short.
Annone hit two doubles in the loss while finishing 3-for-5 with a run scored for the game. Mike Torres was saddled with the loss in relief, giving up two runs on three hits in the sevens. Matt Dinello picked up the win for the Warriors in two innings of relief. Nate Spielvogel claimed the save while getting out of the ninth.
Merrimack starting pitcher PJ Browne pitched eight innings in game two to lead the Warriors in the sweep, he gave up 11 hits but only three runs (two earned) while striking out three in the win.
The Warriors struck first in the top of the second inning, scoring two runs off starter Jake Wersinger on one swing of the bat. With a runner on, Dionys Quezada hammered a ball off the scoreboard in left field for a quick 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats picked up both earned in the bottom of the fourth inning, both coming with two outs in the inning. Samluk singled up the middle to score Goines who led off the inning with a base hit. After stealing second, Samluk scored on an Annone single through the right side, tying the game.
The Warriors answered back with a run in the top of the sixth, taking the lead for good. They added to the lead once more in the top of the seventh as Quezada led off the inning with his second homer of the game, a bullet down the left field line for the 4-2 lead.
Matt Lopes cut the deficit in half with an RBI groundout to the shortstop, but the Wildcats were unable to tie the game, leaving the tying run on base.
Merrimack added four insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning, padding the lead before settling on the 8-3 final score.
Wersinger took the loss in six innings of work, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out four batters.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday when they head home, playing at in state and NCAA Division I foe Delaware. The Wildcats and Blue Hens start the single nine-inning game at 3 p.m. at Bob Hannah Stadium in Newark, Del.