GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - - Kylee Gunkel spun a one-hit complete game shutout as the Wilmington University softball team defeated Adelphi, 1-0, in the first game of the 2022 East Super Regional on Thursday at Janet L. Ficke Field.
With the win, the Wildcats (38-18) are one win away from reaching the NCAA DII Softball National Championships in Denver, Colorado. Game two of the best of three season will be on Friday at 12:00 p.m.
The Wildcats were threatening all day against the top team in the East Region, but the big hit never came. The Wildcats out-hit the Panthers (45-13), 8-1, but left eight runners on base in the game. The lone run of the game came on an error on a first and third play, allowing Gabbie Saucedo to trot home for the 1-0 lead.
Kylee Gunkel allowed a one-out double in the bottom of the first inning, and then didn't allow another hit the rest of the game. The Panthers left two runners on in the bottom of the first, but then Gunkel retired the next eight batters before a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth. She then retired eight straight batters again heading into the final frame. She allowed a leadoff walk but struck out the final two batters, leaving the tying run on second as the game ended.
Gabbie Saucedo started the second inning off with a double to right center and then moved to third as Sara Miller singled into center. Sara Miller then took off for second and the Adelphi throw went to third base but got away to allow Saucedo to score for the 1-0 lead. The Wildcats led the bases loaded in the second inning though, unable to add onto the lead.
Haley Downin walked and Gabbie Saucedo singled with one out in the third, ending the day for the Adelphi starter. But reliever Lindsey Hibbs struck out the next two batters to leave two more runners on.
Lexi Moore started the fifth with a single and the Wildcats put runners on second and third with only one out, but again the Wildcats couldn't come up with the big hit to extend the lead, leaving two runners on.