NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University softball team celebrated its 2022 home opener with a split against Adelphi, falling 10-6 in nine innings before hanging on down the stretch with a 7-5 victory in game two at Asbury Field.
The Panthers came back from a 5-2 deficit with a three-run fifth and then tied the game once again, 6-6, in the top of the seventh to force extra innings. Adelphi completed the comeback with a four-run ninth inning, taking the opener, 10-6.
Adelphi scored first, putting two runs in the board in the top of the second with a single and a sac fly. The Wildcats (5-9) answered right back in the bottom of the second, using three Adelphi errors to score four unearned runs. Gabbie Saucedo singled home Danielle Hess and then a dropped ball at first base, which would have ended the inning, and a concurrent throwing error plated two more. Taylor Gillis beat out a single to the pitcher, giving the Wildcats a 4-2 lead.
Taylor Gillis gave the Wildcats a 5-2 lead with another RBI infield single in the fourth, but then the Panthers answered right back in the top of the fifth. The Panthers put runners on second and third with no outs, scoring the first run on a sacrifice fly. Now with two outs, the cleanup hitter Faith Camilleri took a 3-0 pitch and deposited it over the fence in left to tie the game, 5-5.
Down to their final three outs, the Panthers had the top of the order up in the seventh and started with a triple inside the first base bag and down the line. Lauren O'Neill hit a shallow fly ball to left, but the speed of Zeara Shreter beat the throw home and tied tied the game, 7-7.
The Wildcats couldn't get anything going in the seventh or eighth innings and the Panthers scored four in the ninth, stealing a run and then getting a two-out RBI single and a two-run bomb from Camilleri again to lead 10-6.
The Wildcats snapped a nine-game losing streak to Adelphi, including 4 games in the NCAA East Regional Tournament, in the nightcap, this time holding onto the lead late in the game.
Adelphi started the scored with a three run top of the second. Jadan Farhat hit a two-run double to right center and then Angela Lignelli followed with a single to center thatn got past the centerfielder to score one more.
The Wildcats responded in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with no outs as Lexi Moore beat out a play at second base. Tristyn Stewart followed with a two-run single to left and then Emma Zimmerman came up clutch with a two-out two-run single to right to give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.
A two-out bases empty rally in the fifth gave the Wildcats the insurance runs it needed for the split. Lauren Lopez poked one to right to start the rally and then Haley Downin drove the next pitch to left, chasing Danielle Hess all the way around from first. Emma Zimmerman took the next pitch and doubled to left as well and Gabbie Saucedo took the first pitch she saw to center to score Zimmerman and the Wildcats led 7-3.
The Panthers tried to come back in the sixth, loading the bases without any outs. Renamarie Rocha came in relieve of Kylee Gunkel and only allowed two RBI groundouts, minimizing a big inning and keeping the Wildcats in front, 7-5.
Zeara Shreter led off the top of the seventh with a single again, but Zimmerman gunned her down at second trying to steal and the Wildcats held on for the win.
Gunkel pitched five innings for her third win of the year while Rocha pitched the final two for her third save. Zimmerman went 2-for-3 with three RBI while Haley Downin went 2-for-3 with an RBI as well.
The Wildcats begin Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Play with their next doubleheader, as they travel to Chestnut Hill on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.