HOCKESSIN, Del. - - The Wilmington University baseball team couldn't hold onto three separate leads against crosstown rival Goldey-Beacom, falling 12-6 in the opening game of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference series on Wednesday at Doyle Field.
The loss drops the Wildcats (24-9, 16-4 CACC) to just one game ahead of the Lightning (24-21, 15-5 CACC) in the CACC South Division with four CACC games remaining this weekend. The two teams will meet on Sunday at Wilson Field for a doubleheader to complete the three-game series.
Goldey-Beacom got to Wildcats' ace and CACC leader in multiple categories Ryan Sandberg. The Lightning hit five home runs on Wednesday, including back-to-back homers in the fifth and sixth innings.
The Wildcats got out to leads of 3-0 after the top of the first, 5-3 after the fourth, and 6-5 after the top of the sixth. But the Lightning scored two in the fifth, three in the sixth, three in the seventh, and one more in the eighth to run away with the opener 12-6.
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the top of the first inning without recording an out, as Nic Hertsfeld hit a single, Jack McDonald walked, and Quintin Ivy was hit by a pitch. John Mead singled in a pair to put the Wildcats on the board and then Shawn Haut doubled down the left field line to plate another for the 3-0 lead.
Goldey-Beacom answered with two in the bottom of the first and then tied the game in the bottom of the second with a two-out RBI single.
The Wildcats regained the lead with a first and third situation in the top of the fourth, as Nick Nocella scampered home for the 4-3 lead. Two batters later, Matt Warrington struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher allowing him to get on and Erik Grady to score for the 5-3 lead.
The Lightning answered again in the bottom of the fifth with two outs and nobody on base, hitting back-to-back solo homers to tie the game, 5-5.
Shawn Haut started the top of the sixth with a double and then Adrian Jimenez got one past a drawn in infield to give the Wildcats the lead once again, 6-5. But the Lightning had a response once again, hitting a two-run shot and a solo homer to grab an 8-6 lead and never looked back.
Three more runs in the bottom of the seventh made it 11-6 for the Lightning and then one final homer in the bottom of the eighth capped the scoring, 12-6.
The Wildcats will look to rebound on Saturday as they host Dominican in a cross-divisional doubleheader with the Chargers. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. at Wilson Field.