Wildcats Can’t Hang onto Early Lead, Fall to In-State Rival Delaware, 13-9
BB: Delaware 13 - Wilmington 9
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - Newark, Del.
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Senior Brandon Payne made this catch in right field, but also went 2-for-4 with an RBI at Delaware. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Sophomore Brendan Fallers sneaks home for the second run on a Delaware error in the second inning. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
The Wildcats held a lead as late as the sixth inning against their in-state rivals but the Wilmington University baseball team was unable to hang on against its NCAA Division I counterparts University of Delaware, 13-9, at Bob Hannah Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Wilmington (13-9 overall) scored in each of the first three innings, including a five run second inning to take as large as a 7-2 lead after three at-bats. Delaware (11-8) kept coming back however, scoring multiple runs in the third and fourth innings, and then busted out with a six run sixth inning to take the lead for good.
The Wildcats used a different pitcher in every inning, with Rob Gore, Jarrett Shaffer and Peter Monahan turning in the three scoreless innings on the afternoon for the visitors.
The bats got things going right away for the Wildcats, as Jordan Johnson started the game off with a single through the right side. After moving to third base on a wild pitch and a strikeout and throw out at first base, Johnson scored on a Josh Hampton sacrifice fly to right field, giving the Wildcats their first lead of the game.
After the Blue Hens responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, the Wildcats broke out for a five run second inning. Three walks to the first four batters loaded the bases for the Wildcats, and Brendan Fallers tied the game at 2-2 with a bunt base hit down the third base line. Johnson chopped one to second for the second out of the inning, but deep enough to score Kyle Lindstrom.
The inning continued on an error by the Blue Hens, allowing Jon Castro to score for the first run while Fallers hustled all the way home from second as the defense slowly retrieved the ball in the field. Hampton followed with his second RBI of the day, smashing a double over the head of the left fielder, scoring Frank Samluk to lead 6-2.
The Wildcats took their largest lead of the game in the third inning, as Lindstrom started the rally with two outs and the bases empty. Lindstrom reached base by getting hit by a pitch and then got into scoring position by swiping second base. Brandon Payne made it 7-2 Wilmington with a single into right field on the next at-bat.
Wilmington again loaded the bases in the fifth inning and scored two more runs to erase the two runs the Blue Hens scored in the bottom of the fourth. Jon Castro beat out an attempted double play ball, scoring the team’s first run. Fallers followed with a squeeze bunt, being thrown out at first for the second out, but allowing Lindstrom to score.
But that would be all the runs the Wildcats would get in the game, as Delaware fired back with six runs in the bottom of the sixth, sucking all the wind out of the Wilmington sails. A pair of three run home runs in the inning accounted for all six runs, putting the home team in front 12-9.
A solo home run from Delaware in the eighth inning extended the Blue Hens lead to 13-9 while reliever Eric Buckland shut down the Wildcat offense in the final five innings, not allowing a single hit.
It is the second straight win for Delaware in the series, after breaking a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats with a win last year.
Johnson and Payne registered two hits apiece for the Wildcats while Hampton and Fallers led the team with two RBI’s each. Hampton’s double in the second was his 14th of the season.
The Wildcats return to action against Division II opponent with four more games this week, starting with a doubleheader against University of the Sciences on Wednesday. The game was originally schedule to be played in Philadelphia, but will now be played at Wilson Field due to field conditions. The Wildcats will be the visitors on the scoreboard for the conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.