CALDWELL, N.J. - - The Wilmington University softball team ended its regular season with a tough split against Caldwell, winning the opener, 5-4, and nearly coming all the way back in game two, falling 7-6 in eight innings on Saturday afternoon as Caldwell Field.
The split keeps Caldwell a game ahead of the Wildcats in second place in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference standings. Caldwell plays Felician on Sunday in its final doubleheader of the season and a sweep would keep them in second while a split would give the Wildcats second place due to tiebreaker rules.
Renamarie Rocha worked out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the bottom of the seventh, inducing a foul out and a liner to third to pick up her third save of the season.
Caldwell (33-12, 18-4 CACC) scored first in the bottom of the third inning but then the Wildcats answered in the top of the fourth. An error put Gabbie Saucedo on first and then Emma Zimmerman tied the game, 1-1, with an RBI triple. Kiersten Comer reached on another error, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Now with two outs and runners on first and third, punch runner Danielle Hess stole home on a first and third play.
Another error gave the Wildcats their fourth run in the top of the fifth inning, as Lexi Moore was standing on third with one out. Haley Downin executed a squeeze play to score Moore while also reaching on the Cougars' fourth error of the game.
Caldwell closed the gap to 4-2 with a two-out RBI in the bottom of the fifth but the Wildcats had an answer again in the top of the sixth. After Isabella Eleazar and Tristyn Stewart started the inning off with single, Lauren Lopez hit a two-out RBI single to make it 5-2.
Another two-out RBI produced the Cougar's third run and then an error trying to get the batter at second on the play allowed the second run to score, 5-4.
The Cougars loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh and starter Kylee Gunkel gave way to Renamarie Rocha. She got seniors Paige Sandoval and Lauren Stansell out, leaving the tying run at third base as the game ended.
The Wildcats scored the first three runs of the game but needed three runs in the top of the seventh to extend the game into extra innings. But the Cougars scored on a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth to secure the split.
Haley Downing hit a two-out RBI single in the top of the first and then Adriana Bueno hit a two-out, two-run single to right in the top of the third for the 3-0 lead.
The Cougars scored single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, and then opened the game up with a four-run fifth inning.
An error allowed Tristyn Stewart to reach to start the seventh and then Sara Miller singled to the pitcher. Lexi Moore hit one to short that was miscued, bringing in the first run. Lauren Lopez then executed the squeeze play again to make it 6-5 and put the tying run on third base. Haley Downin then ground out to second, but allowed Sara Miller to score and tie the game.
A one-out walk came around to score in the bottom of the eighth, as a Taylor Mischler blooper landed inside the right field line for the walk-off.
The CACC Tournament begins on Thursday, May 5, hosted by Georgian Court in Lakewood, New Jersey. The double-elimination tournament will conclude on Saturday. The Wildcats last won the Tournament in 2019.