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NEW CASTLE, Del. - - A three-run bottom of the seventh propelled the third seeded Wilmington University softball team into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Semifinals, defeating No. 6 Caldwell, 7-6, with a walk-off victory at Asbury Field on Friday.
With the win, coupled with an upset in another CACC Tournament Quarterfinal game, the Wildcats (19-14) will host the Semifinal round on Monday, welcoming seventh seeded Bloomfield to Asbury Field. The first pitch on Monday is set for 2:00 p.m.
Caldwell (20-11-1) took the lead with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the seventh, but three errors in the bottom of the seventh led to the Wildcats' comeback, including one on the final play of the game.
The Cougars struck first in the game, as a leadoff walk and a double came around to score on a pair of sacrifice flies in the inning.
Sara Miller started the bottom of the first with a bunt single, and ended up on third after a wild pitch rattled around and Miller took two bags on the play. Haley Downin then chopped one to third, bounced high and slow enough to allow Miller to score on the ground out.
Now down 3-1, the Wildcats tied the game in the third inning. Alyssa Velasquez started the rally with a one-out double. Lauren Lopez was named to keep a ball fair over the first base bag and into right field, plating Velasquez. Now with two outs, Isabella Eleazar hit one to the shortstop that was too hot to handle, allowing Haley Downin to score the tying run, 3-3.
After a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth, Velasquez gave the Wildcats the lead in the bottom half. Sara Miller was the catalyst again, hitting a one-out triple to right center. Velasquez than lined a single over the head of the third baseman and into left field, giving the Wildcats the 4-3 lead.
But the lead didn't last long as Caldwell answered in the top of the fifth. A pair of singles, accompanied by an error, put runners on second and third with only one out. A groundball to short scored one run, but kept the Wildcats out of a bigger inning as Arianna Millan went to the ground to snag a line drive for the final out at first.
A quiet sixth inning led to a 4-4 game heading into the final frame of regulation. Alexandra Ballester had two outs and a runner on first, but then Lauren Stansell beat out a grounder to short for an infield single and keep the inning alive. All-CACC second baseman Taylor Mischler than doubled to the gap in left center, chasing both runners around to score.
Needing at least two runs to keep the game going, the Wildcats' inning started with Haley Downing reaching on an error. Lauren Lopez hit one sharply but right at the first baseman, and she went to second for the force out, but Lopez beat out the relay to keep a runner at first. Annie Davila singled into right field, putting the tying run on base.
Isabella Eleazar went the other way again with a single into right, and pinch runner Renamarie Rocha beat the throw home to make it 6-5. A wild pitch put the tying run 60-feet away and the winning run on second. Kiersten Comer chopped on to second that didn't couldn't be fielded, tying the game, 6-6. Arianna Miller than grounded one to third, but the throw to first was up the line and got by the first baseman, allowing Eleazar to score with the walk-off run.
Haley Downin went the first three innings in the circle, allowing three runs on three hits. Alexandra Ballester went 3.2 innings with three strikeouts, allowing three runs before Molly Dill recorded the last out in the seventh. Dill moved to 5-4 on the year with the win.