WINTER HAVEN, Conn. - - A Lauren Lopez homer in the top of the seventh gave the Wilmington University softball team a split on its final day in Florida, falling to Winona State, 5-0, before beating Missouri-St. Louis, 4-2, in the nightcap on Friday afternoon.
Freshman Kylee Gunkel hung on until the final two innings against Winona State, but the Wildcats' bats never came up with that key hit, leaving nine runners on base while going scoreless with seven base knocks.
The offense picked up in the third inning as Gunkel was able to strand two Warriors in scoring position. The Wildcats tried some two-out magic in their half, but they left the bases loaded to keep the game scoreless.
The Warriors got on the board in the fourth inning, hitting a two-out solo homer to take a 1-0 lead. Another two-out solo homer sparked a three-run sixth inning for the Warriors, getting another two-run single to take a 4-0 lead.
The key hit did come for the Wildcats in the nightcap, as Lauren Lopez hit a two-run homer to left center in the top of the seventh, breaking a 2-2 tie and to send the Wildcats back north with on a win, 4-2.
Renamarie Rocha picked up her first win of the season, going the distance while allowing two runs on eight hits without giving up a walk.
Lopez also started the scoring in the third inning, singling through the right side to score Taylor Gillis. The Tritons were able to take the lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, launching a solo shot in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats were able to draw even in the sixth inning, scoring on a wild pitch. Kiersten Comer started the inning with a one out single before Tristyn Stewart hit a two-out double to put runners on second and third. A pitch got past the catcher and Emma Zimmerman scurried home to tie the game 2-2.
Rocha set the Tritons down in order in the bottom of the sixth, bringing the offense back to the plate. Taylor Gillis started the inning with a bunt single and got into scoring position by stealing second. After Lexi Moore lined out, Lauren Lopez stepped in and launched her first homer of the year to left center, giving the Wildcats the 4-2 lead.
The Tritons put a runner in scoring position, but Rocha buckled down and induced a ground ball to second to end the game.
The Wildcats return home but don't play again until their home opener on March 20 when they welcome Adelphi to Asbury Field.