West Chester took advantage of 11 free bases by the Wilmington University baseball pitching staff on Wednesday afternoon to capture the Bill Giles Invitational Championship, 9-5, at Citizens Bank Park.
The Wildcats (24-8) walked nine batters and hit a pair as the Rams (18-8) snapped the Wildcats 10-game winning streak to retake the Bill Giles Invitational Championship. The Wildcats won the Invitational last year and were looking to defend the title against the Philadelphia area's four Division II teams.
The Wildcats jumped out in front first, scoring a run in the top of the second without recording a hit. Sam Goines led off the frame with a walk before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Lopes. Goines stole third before coming in on an RBI groundout by Mike Annone.
A lead off walk and back-to-back doubles tied the game for the Rams in the third before another walk forced in a run with the bases loaded. The Rams added a third run in the third with a single off of pitcher Matt Frost.
The Wildcats tied the game in the fourth, scoring two runs on three hits. Goines bunted safely to second to bring in Swirchak for the first run before Annone executed a squeeze play to tie the game, 3-3, y scoring Goines from third.
West Chester had an answer for every Wildcat run scored, as they retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, scoring on a wild pitch, and a miscue by Zach Rumford on the mound after a strikeout.
Wilmington gained a run back on an error in the fifth, but the Rams retaliated once again in the bottom half, scoring two runs on two hits to lead 7-4 after five full.
The Wildcats loaded the bases after an RBI single from Matt Lopes in the eighth inning, but Golden Ram pitcher Mike Cipolla got Sean Feeney looking to strand all three batters.
The Golden Rams tacked on two more in the bottom of the eighth to put the game away, getting two runs on a hit and a Wilmington error.
Feeney led the Wildcats with two doubles while Goines batted 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Lopes also went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Annone finished with two RBI on the day.
The Wildcats used eight different pitchers in the game, receiving a pair of strikeouts from Rumford, Ryan Douglas, and Peter Monahan. But the nine walks and two hit batsmen, four of which led off innings for the Rams, hurt the staff.
The Wildcats will look to begin another winning streak on Thursday as they head to another PSAC school for a nonconference game. They will take on East Stroudsburg starting at 3:00 p.m.