PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - For the sixth time since 2015, the Wilmington University softball team won 30 games in a season, sweeping Thomas Jefferson on Thursday, 4-2 and 7-5, at the Jefferson softball field to improve to 30-16 overall.
It is the eighth time in the program's NCAA era that the team has won at least 30 games, including the sixth time under head coach Mike Shehorn. The Wildcats won a program record 39 games in 2019.
The Wildcats needed a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to secure the game one victory, after Jefferson came back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.
The Wildcats scored first in the top of the second after putting runners on second and third with only one out. Kiersten Comer grounded out to second and Sara Miller was caught off the bag at second. But the first baseman's throw was off the mark at second, allowing both Lauren Lopez and Miller to score for the 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats went down in order in the next three innings and the Rams got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Four straight singles brought a run home for the Rams as they moved around station to station. WilmU starter Kylee Gunkel picked up a big strikeout for the second out of the inning and then induced a foul out as Emma Zimmerman squeezed it to get out of the jam.
Wilmington left two on in the sixth and then the Rams countered with a one-out homer to right, tying the game, 2-2.
Haley Downin got the seventh inning started with a double to left before she was standing on third with one out. Kiersten Comer singled into left center for the go-ahead RBI. Tristyn Stewart then came up with a big two-out RBI single, plating the insurance run, 4-2.
Kyle Gunkel then worked out a two-out error to earn her 14th win of the year. She struck out nine while allowing two runs on six hits.
All seven runs came in a three-inning stretch, coming back from an early 1-0 deficit for the sweep.
Trailing 1-0 after the first, the Wildcats plated two in the top of the third. Emma Zimmerman doubled to start the inning and then came home on an error that allowed Stewart on base. Two batters later, Gabbie Saucedo hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Stewart for the 2-1 lead.
Laure Lopez started the fourth off with a single and then pinch runner Isabella Eleazar came around to score on another Rams error. Courtney Dellinger forced another error in the inning, allowing Sara Miller to score and take a 4-1 lead.
Gabbie Saucedo was standing on second with one out in the fifth when Kiersten Comer hit another RBI single for the 5-1 lead. The Wildcats then loaded the bases and a walk and a hit-by-pitch brought in two more runs for the Wildcats, 7-1.
The Rams scored two in the fifth and then hit back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh and brought up the game-winning run with only one out. But Rocha induced a fly ball and a fielder's choice to end the game, 7-5.
Renamarie Rocha improved to 11-1 on the year with the win. She struck out 3 while allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits. Lauren Lopez led all hitters with three hits in game two. Haley Downin had two hits in the game.
The Wildcats conclude their regular season with a regionally ranked opponent, as they travel to Caldwell on Saturday afternoon. Caldwell is 32-11 overall, 17-3 in CACC play and in second place overall, one game ahead of the Wildcats in the loss column. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.