Press release written by Mitchell Coll
LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - The number one seed Wilmington University softball team held on to a 3-2 victory over the Purple Knights of the University Bridgeport to move on in the winner's bracket of the 2023 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament on Thursday, hosted by Georgian Court.
The Wildcats struck early in the game, scoring two out of their three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Haley Downin, batting in the two-spot, connected on a single to left field. Lexi Moore then successfully laid down a bunt, as Downin eventually moved to third. Next, Sara Miller and Gabriella Saucedo delivered back-to-back fielder's choice RBI hits to score Downin and Moore.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, had two runners on base, but a nice sliding catch in left field off the bat of Tristyn Stewart kept the Wildcats from adding on.
But the Wildcats were able to find that important insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Gillis singled to the shortstop and then moved over to second off a sacrifice bunt from Lexi Moore. Sara Miller then picked up her second RBI with a single up the middle, scoring Gillis from second to make it 3-0.
Bridgeport made things interesting the top of the seventh, as a couple of errors helped produce two runs. An error and a single put the first two runners on base, but then Sheehan picked up a big strikeout and comebacker to the circle. A chopper to first with two outs got away from the Wildcats, allowing two runs to score. But then Sheehan buckled down and struck out the final batter with the tying run on first.
Kylee Gunkel, this year's CACC Pitcher of the Year, improved her record to 18-4 with four innings pitched. Gunkel only gave up five hits, no runs, and struck out four batters. Delani Sheehan came on in the fifth inning, earned a save, and struck out three batters.
Sara Miller went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Gabriella Saucedo also went 1-for-3 and picked up one RBI.
The Wildcats will be back in action tomorrow, Friday, May 5, to take on No. 3 seed Georgian Court who defeated No. 2 Caldwell, 3-1, in the second game on Thursday. The first pitch is set for 11:00 a.m.