A three-run eighth inning in the nightcap on Saturday led to another sweep for the Wilmington University softball team as it defeated Mercy, 14-7, and Minnesota State Mankato, 4-3, at the National Training Center.
In the early part of the season, the Wildcats (5-1) have been putting together crooked numbers in innings and Saturday was no different as they used a five run third and four run fourth against Mercy to jump out to the large lead in the day's first game.
In a tightly contested contest, the Wildcats and Mavericks played to a 1-1 tied through regulation, needing extra innings to sort the winner. The Wildcats plated three runs in the international tie-breaker extra inning before holding off the Mavericks in the bottom half as they scored twice.
The big blow in the third inning against Mercy came off the bat of Shannon Brantley as she tripled to right center, clearing the bases with two outs to put Wilmington up 7-1.
Danielle Bradley knocked in a pair in the fourth with a single through the left side before Taylor Rizzotte brought in another run with a single to short. Rizzotte came around to score as Kaitlyn Slater reached on an error, putting four on the board for the 11-2 lead.
The Mercy Mavericks responded with a four spot of their own in the bottom of the fourth but reliever Danielle Bradley shut down the Mavericks the rest of the way to close out the 14-7 win.
Bradley pitched the final 3.2 innings while striking out four and only giving up one unearned run and three hits. She earned her first collegiate career victory in relief of Brantley in the circle.
Freshman Monique Rojas led the Wildcats by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Brantley knocked in four in the game while batting 2-for-4. Shannon McMahon also collected two hits in the win.
The Wildcats led for the majority of the nightcap against Minnesota State Mankato, getting a single run in the top of the third. After the Mavericks tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, the teams needed extra innings to determine a winner.
With the international tiebreaker rules in effect, the Wildcats had two runners on with no outs following a Colby Wyatt single down the right field line. With runners on second and third, Miranda Pedersen singled to left field, bringing in Cambria Ziemba who started the inning on second.
Becca Stanley added to the lead with an RBI single to right center to score Bradley before Pedersen walked home on a wild pitch to round out the scoring in the top of the eighth.
The Mavericks responded right way in the home half, doubling to right center to score the runner from second with one out. Now with two outs, the Mavericks cut the deficit to a single run with an RBI single and threatened even more when loading the bases. But reliever Brooke Lachette hunkered down and induced a game-ending ground out to give the Wildcats the Saturday sweep.
Ziemba, Wyatt, and Rojas led the Wildcats with two hits a piece in the nightcap while Pedersen knocked in a pair by going 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Chelsea Botsch earned the start and pitched a strong 5.1 innings while picking up seven strikeouts and only one run. Lachette earned the win in 2.2 innings of relief, improving to 2-1 on the year.
The Wildcats continue their Florida trip with another pair of games on Sunday, squaring off against Quincy and Indiana (Pa.) at Foundation Academy. The first pitch against Quincy is scheduled for 1 p.m. with the game against IUP set for 3 p.m.