Bats Break Out As No. 25 Wilmington Baseball Tops Millersville, 12-3, in Home Opener
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - New Castle, DE
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Sophomore Matt Lopes batted 2-for-2 against Millersville, hitting his third double of the year while knocking in one and scoring another. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. Photo credit: Liz Case. All rights reserved.
Junior Josh Hampton extended his hitting streak to 15 straight games by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs and an RBI against Millersville. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. Photo credit: Liz Case. All rights reserved.
Senior and leadoff man Jordan Johnson went 1-for-3 with a double but scored three runs after getting on base four times against Millersville. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. Photo credit: Liz Case. All rights reserved.
The Wilmington University baseball team did not have an easy task in its first game after being ranked No. 25 in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Top 25 Poll, but passed it with ease with a 12-3 nonconference victory over Millersville on Wednesday in the team’s home opener at Wilson Field.
In opening the newly named Jim Sherman Sr. Stadium and newly renovated Wilson Field, the Wildcats (11-6) did not disappoint the home crowd that came out on the chilly, windy afternoon. The Wildcats smashed out 14 hits, scoring 12 runs with 11 RBI’s off six Millersville (11-5) pitchers. Millersville received 18 points in the national poll that was released on Tuesday.
The Wildcats got things going early and often on Wednesday, scoring three runs in the first and then continuing to score at least one run in four other innings. Before the Marauders knew what hit them, they were down 5-0 after the third inning.
The first three batters of the game got on base for the Wildcats in the bottom of the inning as Jordan Johnson walked and Frank Samluk singled to start things off. Josh Hampton extended his impressive hitting streak to 15 consecutive games with a single, moving the runners up one base before the Marauder left field misplayed the hop, allowing Johnson to score the games’ first run. Jonathan Rodriguez and Sam Goines were hit by pitches in back to back at-bats, the second forcing in a run to go up 2-0.
With the wind blowing out towards right field, Brandon Payne hit a high pop up to shallow left center and the Millersville shortstop Tyler Orris traveled back to make the play, but was carried into shallow center. Hampton tagged on the play from third base, scoring for the sacrifice fly for the 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats struck for two more runs in the 3rd inning as Hampton started the inning off with a double into the gap in right center. After being moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Matt Lopes, Rodriguez took the first pitch he saw and singled back up the middle to score Hampton. Two batters later, Payne singled through the right side, allowing Rodriguez to come around to score for the 5-0 lead.
Millersville got three back in the top of the fourth off the Wildcat’s second pitcher of the game Peter Monahan, but the home team quickly responded by putting two more on the board in the next half inning. Hampton was in the thick of things again, hitting a two out double down the left field line, scoring Johnson from second. Lopes followed with a double into the gap in left center, allowing Hampton to trot home safely.
After a quiet fifth inning, the offense struck again in the sixth as Jon Castro singled and worked his way to third base with one out. Samluk and Castro executed a perfect squeeze bunt for the run, extending the lead to 8-3. The Wildcats would have struck again if it weren’t for a great diving back handed play by the third baseman with the bases loaded, getting Rodriguez at first with a throw form his knees.
Wilmington then put the game out of reach in the eighth inning, adding on four more runs. Rodriguez, Joe Marciano, and Brandon Payne all hit singles with the bases loaded in the inning before Brendan Fallers capped the scoring with a bases loaded walk for the team’s 12th run of the game.
Sophomore Ray Gambone started the game on the mound for the Wildcats, going two innings while allowing no runs on one and recording one strikeout. He picked up his second straight win of the season, as the Wildcats took the lead with him on the mound on the intentional staff day.
The Wildcats face another tough opponent in their next matchup, squaring off against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference rival Dominican on Friday on the road. The Chargers were voted to finish second in the CACC Preseason Poll. The games will be played at Provident Bank Park in Pomona, N.Y., with the first pitch slated for 1 p.m.